How to Mourn?

May 31, 2022

Part One

I tried to write in my journal, but nothing.

I have grieved the loss of parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.

I have grieved the loss of friends who died far too young and hospice patients with whom I sat at the end of their lives.

I have grieved the impending loss of others who are facing serious health concerns.

I have grieved the loss of so many in our country killed unjustly. Murdered.

I have grieved roads not taken.

I have grieved unwelcome changes.

Grief is not an unknown in my life, and I know it is not unfamiliar to you, either.

But this…

Years ago in a class on spiritual practices I taught, the participants made their own string of prayer beads. I have used mine occasionally since then, but not regularly. Now seemed like the right time.

Sitting in silence, I fingered the beads; each one a symbol for one of the children slaughtered and their beloved teachers. My string of beads were not long enough and I returned to the beginning again and again, holding the loss of all those who loved them. I wish I could say I felt calmer as my fingers moved from bead to bead, but that was not the case. Instead, I felt the pain more deeply.

I think I am to feel that pain sear through my body, for only then can change begin to take shape.

I don’t know what kind of action that means for me, other than making donations to worthwhile organizations, but in the meantime I sit with the beads; the beads that leave an impression on my fingertips.

Part Two

I gave the weekly writing group I facilitate at church the following prompt:

Write what is on your heart. Write your tears, your rage, your fears. Write what is at the bottom of your heart, and write what is touching your heart. Write your prayers. Write your lament. Write as a mother. Write.

During the sharing/listening time, one of the participants, who gave me permission to share the following, said her adult daughter had asked her, “What did you worry about when we were growing up?” She admitted she had to think about her answer. She thought she had probably worried about her children getting good grades and using good manners and living with a love of God and family.

I am not a huge worrier, but I suspect I worried about our children doing well in school and having good friends and making good decisions about difficult choices.

Not once did I worry about our children being murdered at school. That never occurred to me.

Part Three

Does anyone else see the irony, the inconsistency with the NRA forbidding the presence of weapons at their convention in Texas this past weekend, but at the same time they think providing teachers with weapons in the classroom is the answer?

Part Four

Pray AND…

You decide what that means; what action you can perform. Begin with prayer and then…

An Invitation

So many wise and important words and reflections have been offered in recent days, and I am grateful for how they have helped me sit with what we have created and allowed to happen in this country. I wonder what has been meaningful to you these past days and now where the wisdom gained will lead you. I would love to know.

8 thoughts on “How to Mourn?

  1. Thank you for your deep reflection on the ongoing devastation our country continues to experience. Yes I see the irony in the NRA banning weapons. I have had it with them as well as politicians on the receiving end of donations from them. i too am frustrated and will find ways to do more and will continue to find the right actions to try with all my heart to change this pattern. I recognize mental health is one important part of this issue also.

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  2. Oh, I definitely see the irony. I am just so heartsick and still in shock over all this, that I don’t know what to say here. Thank you for your thoughts.

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  3. My son’s 4th grade teacher was a gem, in many ways. Here is what she posted on May 25th:

    I woke up confused, how would I talk with my students about the “incident”, should I even talk about it? I drove to school, in the depressing rain, leaning towards addressing a situation which I could not explain nor understand!! Nobody prepared me for this!!

    I arrived at school shortly before 7 and because of the rain, my classroom was pitch dark when I opened the door. My lights, which are motion sensored, did not come on. I got the chills and my eyes filled with tears, which gently streamed down my cheeks!! Nobody prepared me for this!!

    I stood in the hall to greet the students, and as they approached our classroom I wondered if they knew, how much did they know and still I wasn’t certain how I should proceed. That is until I heard one student ask another, “Were you scared to come to school today? Do you ever come to school and think we might die? Because that’s what happened in Texas yesterday and it could happen here, too!!” That confirmed my thinking, I would need to facilitate a discussion about what happened in Texas and why we all (students and adults) should feel safe coming to school!! Nobody prepared me for this!

    What ensued was an hour discussion of questions, concerns, wonderings, problem solving, tears and love…lots of love!!

    A classroom of love is what I prepare for everyday!!

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