I have learned not to be afraid of grief

Years and years ago I sat with a friend in a moment when her grief about losing her father had been unexpectedly triggered. In one moment, we were having fun, and in the next she was lost in tears.

I was so much younger then, andI remember being quite uncomfortable with her grief. I was surprised at how long she cried.

As I sat with her and her inconsolable with tears, I remember worrying that she may never stop crying.
A part of me felt like it was my job to stop her from having these huge feelings.
I needed to fix this.
To make her feel better. A good friend would take this pain away...right?

I considered ways that I could get her out of this moment of grief.
Maybe I should tell her a joke, I thought.
Should I shake her and center her through strength?
Yikes, her pain was so big, and I felt completely incompetent at being with her in it.

Much has changed since then and I have learned to hold space in new ways, and I have learned not to be afraid of grief, mine or other people’s.

Every year in May I hold a course called Annapurna Mother.
In it, I share the brilliance of Natalie Christensen and her tools for connection.
She has single-handedly shown me how to hold space for feelings, both my own feelings and the feelings of people I love.

There was a time when I would never have allowed myself to show my sadness or have a big cry in front of my kids. God forbid if they thought I wasn’t all together and emotionally pitch perfect.

Now when a friend has big feelings I am able to hold the space.
Now when my kids have big feelings, I am able to hold the space.
Now when I have big feelings, I am able to hold the space.

I don't feel the need to fix it or decide what to do.
I realize that being a safe place to BE is the gift.

Freedom comes in holding the space for all the bits of life, and in children seeing their mom have a good cry and seeing that the world didn’t end, that all is well.

This Is a gift I believe in.
Emotions and feelings show us so much.
They remind us of the places that need tender care and love.

I think back to my friend all those years ago and I marvel at her emotional fortitude and her knowingness that crying would give her freedom.


Sadie Casey