Therapist Francis Weller writes: Grief and loss touch us all, arriving at our door in many ways. It comes swirling on the winds of divorce, the death of someone dear, as an illness that alters the course of a life. Left unattended, these sorrows can seep underground, darkening our days. This requires finding meaningful ways to speak of sorrow. It requires that we take up an apprenticeship with sorrow. Learning to welcome, hold, and metabolize sorrow is the work of a lifetime.
Francis Weller, The Wild Edge of Sorrow: Rituals of Renewal and the Sacred Work of Grief, 2015
My reflection: Addiction is laden with grief. Even though my son is healthy today, I still feel grief – grief for our many years of suffering, grief for the burden he yet carries, grief for families still caught in addiction’s grasp.
Today’s Promise to consider: Many of us know grief intimately as we have suffered intense trauma and even the loss of loved ones. Instead of anesthetizing our grief, let us open our hearts to it. Let us acknowledge it, feel it, share it within our recovering communities, and attend to it. Let us hold it with tenderness and respect. Today, let us invite the healing balm of attention to comfort us and guide us to hope.4544
Thank you, Connie. Love to you. xo
Thank you Libby for these wise words. Sorrow and grief is so much a part of watching our loved ones struggle and suffer and yes, sometimes die. For me as a mother there was such a sense of loss of the baby I carried, the precious toddler I loved, the child we once knew, the life we hoped he might have even though he struggled from a very young age to negotiate a world he never could manage. At the very least, I prayed for sanity, safety and health. But addiction steals that from them and them from us. Some therapists call it ambiguous sorrow because our loved one is still alive but lost in the throes of the disease. And it is ongoing. I only know that to keep on loving is something one never regrets, that hope and prayer work even if prayers are not answered as we hope, that finding a community can help us do more than survive. We can heal too. You words ring so true and so important to so many. Being able share pain and grief in a safe space makes our hearts open and loving and helps us find courage when we are most afraid and a kind of grace and peace when we most need it. I trust that.Never give up hope of healing and recovery. You have provided that safe space for me and so many here. Love and prayers to all suffering families right now. Love to all those in active recovery. Love to those who have relapsed, Love to those in prison of addiction. Love to you and your family.
My precious Joy, Your words are wise and full of love. Thank you for staying close all these years and for continuing to offer a message of love. I had never heard of ‘ambiguous sorrow,’ but it is a clear way of helping to put words around our feelings about our suffering loved ones — someone who is alive, but lost in the throes of addiction. Your words are the clarion call for hope and love. My love to you, my friend. Grace and peace.
Libby and Joy, very well said. Grateful for you both.
Pat, We are grateful for YOU. Your wisdom is deep and rich. xo
Stasera Daniele, mio figlio di 29 anni, è morto. Ha avuto una ricaduta questa estate. Il dolore è come se mi stesse strappando l anima e quando la polizia è venuta ad avvisarmi mi è sembrato impossibile. Invece si Dany, non mi chiamerà più con ‘Ciao papà ‘. Adesso inizia un nuovo cammino per me e la mia famiglia. Sei una madre coraggiosa, come tutti i genitori che combattono contro la dipendenza. Non mollate, non voglio mollare neanch’io anche se il dolore è spaventoso. Grazie di tutto, le vostre parole sono vita,
Sono profondamente dispiacuta sentire che tuo figlio non c’e più. Non ci sono parole per esprimere la profonda tristezza. Tuo Dany, tuo figlio, ho capito che il dolore è come se ti stesse strappando via l’anima. Non riesco a imaginare il dolore per te e la tua famiglio. Siete nelle mie forte preghiere. Il dolore è spaventoso. Ti sono vicina con tutto il mio cuore.
My heart was totally broken once with the loss of my Daughter to addiction, and the few pieces that are left are cracking due to my Son’s addiction and absence. Don’t know how I am holding on, but Libby I find strength in your publishing. Thank you so much.
A MOTHER’S BROKEN HEART
My heart is so broken
It is in pieces inside
The tears from my eyes
I hold in when I cry
I don’t want to explain
As they stream down on my face
I quickly grab a tissue
To make them erase
Time keeps on passing
The days, months and weeks
The phone doesn’t ring
So we don’t get to speak
As ashamed as you are
I, too, feel the same
But you or myself
Are not the ones to blame
Your birthday is coming
Fifty years when I gave birth
To my beautiful boy
That God put on this Earth
I know you’ve had trouble
In this world to exist
In the right state of mind
But no one could assist
I tried with my love
To show you I cared
But your mind was too weak
And you were too scared
So we live through our lives
And the truth is unspoken
Just a “love you” is said
And my heart still stays broken
I miss you my Son
Most especially today
Because for all that it’s worth
It’s the day that I gave birth – to you
That is a wonderful poem! Thank you for sharing.
Oh, my precious Mary Ann, My eyes are filled with tears. Your poem, your tribute to your son touches me deeply. You are right – there is no blame, you tried your best. Your words are true: “As ashamed as you are, I, too, feel the same, But you or myself, Are not the ones to blame.” There is no blame, only love, enduring love. I honor with you your son’s life. God bless you.
What a beautiful poem. It makes me cry. It has taken me years to accept that this fear will be with me all of my life. Sounds so depressing, but my husband pointed out that Christ suffered, and he triumphed. And that we can carry this, because HE did. And that maybe this is our cross to bear for a reason. To me, that sounded comforting.
My son is in recovery now. When I find myself worrying that his life seems so marginal because of all he has lost, I smack myself in the head (not really). Then I think “HE’S ALIVE!” And he’s trying!
I’m grateful today. I love him with all my heart right where he is.
I think there’s a special place in a mother’s heart that hurts so much when her child isn’t happy. I still call him my child, but he’s God’s child, and maybe this is HIS cross to bear, and to triumph over.
My dearest Laurie, Your love for your son comes right through the words. Yes, your son is alive, and for that I join you in gratitude. We mothers suffer deeply when our children suffer. I understand. I felt the same way about my son — that I could no longer carry his cross. It was his to carry. I continued to love him and pray, but HE needed to triumph, with the help of God. God is good. I join you in prayer and love.