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Grief Has Many Faces

Updated: Aug 19, 2022

Today, I am grieving. My guess is that you are grieving too. In many ways, we have been grieving for several years now. Covid. Isolation. Loss. Uncertainty.

If you know love, then you also know grief. Grief is defined as intense emotional suffering caused by loss, disaster, misfortune, etc.; acute sorrow; deep sadness..

I have appreciated reading other people's perspective on grief. I like what Keanu Reeves has said. "Grief and loss, those things never go away."

In the last few months I have been working on my third book. It begins with a tragedy that occurred in 1979.

On May 23, 1979, my 12-year-old self was first introduced to grief. On that sunny spring day, I witnessed my first crush, Billy Carr, get struck and killed by lightning only yards from where I stood. We were on the school field, playing soccer and having fun.

May 24, 1979 — 14-yr-old William Carr Jr is killed when struck by lightning, Palmyra, NJ; his companion, Tim Beck, is in stable condition.

In that brief moment, many lives were forever changed- including mine. I remember thinking, "How and why did this happen?" There were no clouds in the sky. He was so young. How could he be gone forever?

The local and national news described this horrific event as "a freak accident." For months I searched for understanding. I talked to school counselors, clergy, teachers, family, etc... but no one had an answer that brought me comfort.

Then one of our middle school classmates did something powerful. Billy's best friend, Joe, age 13, made a plan. He wanted to raise money to start the Billy Carr Memorial Scholarship.

Action was initiated. There were cupcake sales, car washes, and raffles and the money was raised to create the Billy Carr Memorial Scholarship.

Billy Carr Memorial Scholarship AwardEach year the club grants up to 4 Scholarships to Palmyra High School students

1 Boy and 1 girl from Palmyra & 1 boy and 1 girl from Riverton

Putting grief into action is a start to the healing process. It's why planning a funeral is so important. In the first days and weeks after enormous loss, planning provides a focus. It's only after the meals have been delivered, the flowers have faded and shock has diminished, that we have time to navigate a new normal, one that we did not choose and one that will pose the question, "How can I possibly go on without you?"

On memorial day weekend, 1995, when my late husband Kevin was diagnosed with ALS, a terminal illness, I faced enormous grief once again. That day, anticipatory grief stepped in. At 29 years old, I knew that I would be a widow and that our daughter would lose her daddy.

While I have always recognized that grief is a personal journey, I recently learned that there are actually many forms of grief.

Grief does not always appear as tears. It has many faces. It can appear as anger, isolation and confusion. There is complicated grief. Delayed grief. Anticipatory grief and many other variations. You can read about those here:

If you are also grieving right now, you are not alone.

Talk to someone about your feelings. Take positive action (make a donation, rally for change) recognize your grief for what it is and know that we all feel the weight of trauma and loss.

I am a wellness empowerment coach and wanted to share two things with you for your information and comfort.

A quote:

Grief, I have learned, is really just love.

It's all the love you want to give, but cannot.

All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest.

Grief is just love with no place to go.

Jamie Anderson

I also recommend the book which I use with my clients, Bearing the Unbearable by Joanne Cacciatore.

A big part of my life is helping those who are grieving. I speak professionally about it, I talk personally about it, and I'm here if I can be of help.


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