This essay is a part of WYG's PhotoGrief project. The goal of the PhotoGrief project is to create a space where people can explore and express their grief through pictures. Learn more about the project here.
By Dona Tracy
I thought I was through the worst of it, the grieving.
But when it was announced that John Lewis, a hero of mine, was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer a wail of an unearthly sound came up my soul and an unstoppable river of tears flowed from my eyes. I realized then the announcement triggered my grief and pain over the loss of my brother Jon. My mind was on a continuous loop of what I can only call ‘ the undoing’, the what if’s, the he could have been saved, he could be alive right now if only...
The grief stricken tears and howling of my soul were enough. But no. It was my mind that wouldn’t shut off. So, I sat and meditated mindfully letting the relentless thoughts come and go and then gently returning to my breath.
I returned peacefully.
And then I thought about this: I had done it before when Jon lay dying and I spent almost a week sleeping next to him in his room at Hospice House. It wasn't something I consciously did. It was something that took over on its own.
My mind took a backseat to my heart and soul.
My focus was on loving and looking after him.
I was at peace throughout until he took his last breath and then that sound of overwhelming wailing sorrow filled the room I wasn’t sure where it came from. Was it me?
Then somehow loving him and looking after him took over again until the funeral home came and took him away after draping his stretcher with his service to our country, in the form of the American Flag.
When I think of innocence now, I think of the place we all have in us. A place of peace and love with no judgment or pain that arises from the continuous loop of the mind attempting to make sense of things and undo what cannot be undone. Just love, pure and simple showing the way.
Jon and I were in that place when he passed away. I love you Jon, always and forever. Thank you for loving me.
With my grateful thanks to WYG for helping me. It's been a little over four years and I still grieve the loss of my brother.
We invite you to share your experiences, questions, and resource suggestions with the WYG community in the discussion section below.
We wrote a book!
After writing online articles for What’s Your Grief
for over a decade, we finally wrote a tangible,
What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss is for people experiencing any type of loss. This book discusses some of the most common grief experiences and breaks down psychological concepts to help you understand your thoughts and emotions. It also shares useful coping tools, and helps the reader reflect on their unique relationship with grief and loss.
You can find What’s Your Grief? Lists to Help you Through Any Loss wherever you buy books: