In reading “The Wild Edge of Sorrow” I was learning about how in Scandinavian cultures those dealing with loss honor grief by spending about a year next to a fire, among the ashes. A line at the end of the chapter in reference to our own culture’s approach to handling the rawness of life, struck me like the flat edge of a mallet - “Disneyland means ‘no ashes’”. In 2002 I went on a Make-A-Wish trip to Disneyworld. While it was a beautiful gift and a reprieve from a life of toxins pumping through my veins, and friends losing their fight to cancer, It wasn’t the full picture of what I needed for healing. I didn’t need a Disneyland full of color and fantasy. What I needed was space to grieve. Any artist knows, that it’s the palate tinted with black that give the piece any semblance of reality. The depth that brings the image to life.
We are hurting each other, least not helping each other as we try to brighten the shadows of our friends, loved ones, and community.
Though one loss of my friends happened 18 years ago, I am living and reliving them all in today. I was not offered the adequate level of attunement to the emotional state that consumed me at the time. For the first time in my life a community, friends, and mentors are holding my face and gently encouraging me to scream, deeper now from my gut. Are letting me melt to the rocks without trying to pad them first or pulling me up before I’m done. Are watching my tears flow without saying a word instead of handing me a tissue to wipe them away. THIS is the healing. This is the crumble to the ashes that allows for the phoenix to rise