Compassion on National Grief Awareness Day

On National Grief Awareness Day, compassion is one way to express our kindness and concern to those who are experiencing loss. I like the way Irene Latham explains that compassion doesn’t have to be a grand gesture, but can be a small moment of connection with someone to let them know that our thoughts are with them. She shares that when her father died, people reached out to her – and she appreciated their kind words and memories.

Like Irene, I remember feeling so grateful to those who reached out when my mother died in December 2015. They brought food as we grieved – and while every dish was wonderful and special because loving hands had prepared it, I remember two sisters who brought a pot of homemade vegetable soup and corn muffins and commented, “It isn’t much, but it’s what we had, and we wanted to do something.” That pot of vegetable soup was my favorite meal we received. It was simple, it was given with a heart of love, and it warmed my body and my soul!

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*During the months of August and September on days when I’m not participating in the Open Write at www.ethicalela.com, I will be writing in response to the pages of Dictionary for a Better World: Poems, Quotes, and Anecdotes from A to Z by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini. The poems, poetic forms, narratives, quotes, and calls to action to make one small difference might be just the medicine my world – or the whole world – needs. I’ll be inviting insights in the form of an immersion into a 10-minute-a-day book study (just long enough to read the page, reflect, and connect). If you don’t have a copy of the book, you can order one here on Amazon. I invite you to join me in making August and September a time of deep personal book friendship. A few teachers will be following the blog and engaging in classroom readings and responses to the text. So come along! Let’s turn the pages into intentionally crafting beautiful change together.

4 Replies to “Compassion on National Grief Awareness Day”

  1. I have noticed a sneaky element in grief. Sometimes, a supportive gesture or word can penetrate so deeply that something inside us collapses, and along with it, so we seem to give ourselves over to that person’s strength, not realizing how fragile our composure was. Many grieving rituals–especially funerals–are occasions that require those most affected to maintain a strong appearance. This can be exhausting. Our truest friends seem to have an instinct. Thank you for this reminder. Your posts so often resonate with me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Paul. Your comment reminds me of feeling this exact way. Since my mother died over the Christmas holidays, I didn’t trust emotional composure to return to so many students asking me how my holidays were. I remember taking the day and asking an AP friend to go in and explain to my students that while I was fine, I wanted them to know I was feeling a little bit fragile over the loss of my mother and that if I didn’t seem my normal chipper self, this was why. It was a good decision that I don’t regret.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Grief is exhausting, trying to carry on while carrying the daily weight of it. As depleting as it is, there’s something noble, even divine in it – that we can love so deeply, that we can miss someone so profoundly. We would do well to be aware of grief and its effects on others and certainly ourselves, for creating needed space or seeking needed support. The soup and cornbread – comfort! Healing in a bowl! My grandmother said that during the influenza epidemic of 1919 (she was little; she was retelling her parents’ stories) eighteen houses in her tiny community were struck. Her Mama made pots of soup and her Papa carried it to the neighbors, handing it off at the door, not going in. I think of the soup not only as sustenance provided but as an infusion of strength, love, prayer, and all good things to help the sick and grieving overcome.There’s something of the divine in soup as well as in grief. Thank you for this call to awareness, Kim ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kim, I like how the most memorable meal was the simple one prepared with love and compassion by the sisters. This post reminds me of a recent one by Margaret S., writing about the comfort she received after her father’s death this spring.

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