This morning amongst the morning rush at the local café, I sit down at a table next to an elderly gentleman. Perhaps it is the twinkle in his eye or maybe his gentle presence that invites the engagement….whatever it is, within moments, we find ourselves holding hands and through his faltering voice, I learn that this gentleman is at the cafe celebrating his 97th birthday.
His adult granddaughter attending to paying the bill and organizing a taxi to accompany her grandfather home, the gentleman and I stay together for a couple of minutes sharing each other’s presence.
The joy and sweetness of the moment pronounced, I become aware of the grief and sadness gripping at my heart within.
I work hard to stay present to our shared experience.
After a while the gentleman is helped to standing by other members of the public, and as he leaves, we hold hands one last time.
Watching him as he shuffles towards the door, outside, I see the yellow taxi that will take him away. I feel big full tears rolling down my cheeks.
My father died over a year ago, yet the grief still overcomes me when I least expect it.
Through my tears, I notice a group of older women nearby, who had witnessed this moment. One of them reaches out to comfort me, and in response I ask in her experience does grief ever pass? She shares the question with her friends…
One recounts how just yesterday, 29 years on, she found herself filled with tears of loss of her mother. Another talks about the transformation of grief to sweet memories of joy. And a further lady speaks to the passage of time being a part of the process of healing, yet acknowledges how she is still triggered to grief in unexpected moments, such as this scene today. All agree on the need to express their grief and allow it to have its place.
Knowing there is truth in all, I thank them for their wise counsel and for sharing this moment with me.
Sitting in the café, I cry at the beauty of humanity.
I allow my grief to flow.
I remember my father.
And I invite you, to allow a place, for the grief in your life….
If however, you find you are struggling to make sense of your grief, or loss is affecting your life beyond a way that you live with, seeking the support of a professional can help.
(Trained as a whole-body focussing oriented therapist, Sarah Sacks is an experienced counsellor, who specialises in working in supporting people through periods of transition, especially around issues of grief and loss.)
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