A stunningly beautiful contribution to our collective understanding of grief comes in the unlikely form of the movie “A Monster Calls” which is about a 12 year old boy who is about to lose his mother. Regrettably this movie has not been doing well at the box office simply because it is hard to categorize. It does not seem appropriate for young children and adults don’t seem to fully understand that this profoundly true movie is an allegory meant for them. Liam Neeson who gives voice to the monster infuses his performance with a depth of understanding that can only be reached through loss. And it was the loss of his beloved wife that gives his performance such authenticity.
Spoiler Alert: In the final scene of the movie, the “monster” demands TRUTH from the boy and in being true to his feelings he finds freedom from fear. Or as the scriptures say, “Know the truth and it shall set you free.”
Today I was “tagged” to participate in a 22 day challenge to honor Veterans and shine a light of understanding on the tragedy of Veteran suicide (which averages approximately 22 suicides per day.) As I contemplated this challenge—actually of doing 22 pushups per day—I decided to not only take this on but also create an opportunity to contemplate the primary quality of a warrior—Courage. In the book, “The Hidden Soul of Words” the word courage is traced back to its Latin roots “cordialis” meaning “of the heart” or “intimate” and is defined as “…the energy of the infinite that slips through the door of an open soul and into the world.” So for the next 22 days, I will be contemplating different aspects of courage. Today I begin with the courage to grieve our losses. I am sharing a picture that I took in an art class. The artist explained that she had just received the news that her dearest friend had lost her daughter. The black and blue of the painting seems to cry out in grief. Paradoxically, I realized that blue is also joyful as in a “blue sky day” or song lyrics that proclaim “nothing but blue skies from now on!” The color blue seems to connote a continuum of feeling from the depths of grief to the highest of possibilities. Grief too is a continuum but it is a continuum of love. You can’t have one without the other. As poet, Jennifer Wellwood, stated, “Let’s grieve our losses fully, like ripe human beings.” And let’s have the courage to do so!
This is my first blog post on Mourning with the Seasons and I couldn’t be any more grateful to be able to recommend the book “Birding Through Cancer.” This highly original book was written by fellow Seasons of Change coach, Karin Marcus, who also happened to be my trainer. We share a deep and abiding love and reverence for nature. After receiving a cancer diagnosis, Karin turned to her favorite past-time of birdwatching for comfort but found surprisingly rich messages of hope and inspiration as well. Her journey through the frightening initial diagnosis, treatment, and recovery is filled with simple steps of grounding herself in nature’s wisdom that anyone can follow. I honestly can’t think of a more helpful or encouraging book for anyone faced with any significant health challenge. To purchase this gem of a book, please visit her website at http://www.steppingoutcoaching.com