Everything I Once Believed about Grief Is Wrong

For all who grieve, words of wisdom and grace here, as well as testimony to the power of memory.

Kairos Corner

I woke today to the thought that has greeted me every March 8th since 1990: “My sister would have been…”

Fifty-five. That’s how the sentence ends this year. My sister would have been fifty-five.

Twenty-four years removed from her death, I still live the truth of what Rick Lischer describes in his book Stations of the Heart: Parting with a Son:

“Grief is a series of caves–dark, multiple,and unfathomed. You do not explore them. You fall into them. Which means you are constantly righting yourself and daily, sometimes hourly, recovering from little plunges into unrequited longing and despair.”

It’s certainly not hourly, or even daily, but every now and then something triggers a memory that plunges me into a cavern of longing and despair. Sometimes the cavern isn’t deep and I quickly return to whatever I was doing. Sometimes the cavern seems bottomless.

I once believed that grief had…

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