Page 24 - 2016 Autumn-Winter Issue
P. 24

© Vesna Cvorovic/

Five Lessons Grief Teaches

by Maria Housden                                      politeness and learned to tell the truth. I let the
                                                      phone ring and stopped reading fiction.
Twenty-two years of grief changes a lot of things.
I am a new person every day. I never expected to      Pretending not to grieve does not make our
survive my daughter’s death. For months after,        children less dead. When tears are not seen as
I prayed to die. More than once, I considered         weakness, sorrow becomes a wise teacher. I also
taking my own life, though I could not leave all I    see now that truth is mutable. Truth changes as we
love here.                                            change, and it waits until we are ready to see it.

There is no good way or time to lose a child.         JOY: finding it in the darkest places
When someone you love dies, everything                For a long time after Hannah’s death, I was
unnecessary falls away. I have learned to see grief   afraid to laugh or smile. I didn’t want to betray
as a spiritual practice, and it has taught me to see  her suffering by feeling happy. As time passed,
life in new ways.                                     this feeling lifted. I smiled more and cried less. I
                                                      noticed signs and synchronicities that reminded
TRUTH: telling it and living it                       me of Hannah.
My daughter Hannah died of cancer at the age of
three. This is the first true moment in my human      Joy is fleeting when grief makes a home in your
story. Everything I am begins with this. The truth    life. I learned to find it in the darkest places.
of Hannah’s death is fierce and unrelenting. I        Saying ‘yes’ in the moment reveals unexpected
cannot change it, but I can change the way I live     happiness. I rarely make plans ahead of time
with it.                                              now, as I can’t be certain how I will feel. This
                                                      way of seeing allows us to release the need for
When Hannah died, my life entered a ‘no bull          everything to be perfect. Joy is the possibility of
sh*t, no drama’ zone. I only had time and energy
for the few things that mattered. I lost my

2 4 |We Need Not Walk Alone
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