Good Grief: Finding Purpose and Meaning After the Death of a Loved One
Today was a glorious summer day in Portland, Oregon. I can see Mount Hood’s snowy peak from where I’m sitting.
My husband and I are visiting Portland this week as we participate in the World Domination Summit. The central question of the week is “How do we live a remarkable life in a conventional world?”
The gathering is a mix of meet-ups, academies, and headliner events based around the core principles of community, adventure, and service. The meet-ups are attendee-led and today I hosted my own.
Earlier this week I was reviewing my schedule for the conference and it struck me that I wanted to talk with other participants about grief, but didn’t have a way to do that. I immediately sat down at my desk, typed out a proposal, and submitted it to the conference organizers for approval. They accepted my idea!
“Good Grief: Finding Purpose and Meaning After the Death of a Loved One” happened this afternoon at a coffee shop downtown. It was an open discussion and 4 people showed up. We spoke candidly about our own losses, spoke the names of our loved ones, and touched on ways we are creatively transforming our suffering into love and compassion. It was a total success.
I talked about Poppy and the love I felt for her during my beautiful pregnancy.
I reflected on how everything would have changed if Poppy were here and how everything keeps changing even though she isn’t.
Eli talked about his desire to remain open and courageous in the face of so much pain.
One of the women who joined the meet-up shared that her fiancé died this past spring and that they were to be married in June. She came to the conference alone and is carrying her grief for him and the life they were going to live. She carries love too. For him and more important, for herself. It was powerful to hold space with her and to honor the journey she is now on.
Another woman shared her journey with infertility. Confronted by a different type of loss, she remarked that at times she felt she didn’t deserve to grieve. In spite of those moments, she is transforming her loss into a new life’s mission.
Inspired by the life work of John O’Donohue, she begins an apprenticeship this fall called “The Sacred Art of Living and Dying.” With her training and knowledge, she will help support parents and families facing the inevitable death of a child with terminal illness. I can’t wait to see where her journey takes her. Her remarkable choices and courage have already touched me deeply.
Poppy’s life is taking me on an incredible journey. The more I talk about her, the more people listen. Even in her death, she is fostering life. She is giving me permission to be raw and to be strong. To be vulnerable and to be fearless.
One last note before I go. In my last post, I focused on my struggle with the idea of “trying” to get pregnant as Eli and I opened ourselves up to the possibility last month. I’m not pregnant, but I have no regrets being candid about the subject.
Facing my fear about a possible pregnancy so openly actually helped dissolve some of it. Experiencing that anxiety made me realize how fragile I still am and how my healing will continue into my next pregnancy.
Thank you for sharing this journey with me. As I cycle through the normal ups and downs of everyday life and the ebb and flow of my grief, I am grateful for this opportunity to grow. Poppy’s spirit is shining and I’m feeling her warmth stronger than ever.
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