Grief is BIG lately. The collective grief is real, which many are feeling intensely, a collective grief that many white people have not felt in the past, or are starting to feel now. There is so much grief, from the killing of innocent Black people by the police, to the massacres of Asian Americans in Atlanta, and the massacre in Indianapolis, targeting the Sikh community. I am noticing it in my classes, with my friends and family- we are in this. Big time. There is both the collective and the personal grief about not seeing loved ones and life still being shaken up due to the pandemic, and the collective grief due to mass shootings of innocent people (I live near Boulder, CO so the recent shooting here is still very raw and real for many in my community).
On 4/22 I joined a powerful solidarity vigil with the Sikh community on zoom. This virtual Solidarity Vigil was organized by Valarie Kaur and her Revolutionary Love project, inspired by her book, See No Stranger. The recording of the Solidarity Vigil is apparently available to watch on Facebook, and will be available on this website. Please, please check it out.
The grief and rage around the continued killing of Black men, women and children by police last week, literally during the week of the trial for George Floyd’s killer, was huge. This heartache, grief and rage is not new to the grief that women of color have been carrying since the inception of this country, when taken by white men from the original Native people of this land. The emotions of relief, grief, pain, and “there is still so much to do” seeing the conviction of George Floyd’s killer last week was intense and real.
It is so much. And we need to grieve. We need to have space to grieve. It needs to be okay for anyone and everyone to wail, to sob, to cry, to scream. Have you been able to grieve with others? Have you been able to hold space for someone else’s grieving? I hope so- we need to.
I’m grateful I have a small circle of my sister and 2 friends, who meet monthly to discuss Valarie Kaur’s incredible program, Revolutionary Love, which is a step toward effective action. Recently, we discussed grief from the compass Kaur created (which is brilliant). We held space for each other’s grief and for that I am grateful. Valarie is also going to be part of a free online summit, Radical Compassion, led by Tara Brach, starting Monday, April 26.
Interestingly, I wrote a blog about grief just about a year ago- and I spoke of how it was showing up for me and my daughter. Then, she was angry at the shock of pandemic lock down and grieving the loss of school routines. This week, though we’re a year into “covid life,” grief is showing up in the form of big tears. My daughter is now 9.5, and she is not a big crier….she tends to be more fiery and angry when upset. So when she cried really hard recently because we didn’t choose the place she wanted as we planned our summer vacation with her older brother, I was curious as to why so many tears…..
I told her it was okay to cry, to let out her feelings… that she obviously had something to be sad about, possibly beyond our choice of houses. Emotions and anticipation were also rising, as she started thinking about seeing her big brother, who we have not seen since December 2019. Sure enough, as I sat and she continued to cry, she was able to talk through the sobs and say that she is sad that we don’t talk to her brother as often as she would like and that we haven’t seen him in so long. Sadness around not seeing her cousins and the fact that her cousins get to see her grandparents and we hardly do… felt very sad and unfair. (I say she was also feeling the collective grief).
Once she was able to talk about what she was feeling sad about, she was able to move through her feelings. This process of holding space and observing her process allowed her to get to the bottom of the grief, express it, and cry it out. This is so good and valuable for all of us.
How is grief showing up for you and others? How are you making space for it in your life this spring? How are you teaching your children to be with their grieving in this time of intense growth?