March 26 2018

By: Jackie Hook
Monday, March 26, 2018

In addition to making things matter with choices shortly after death, Alan Wolfelt, an author, educator and grief counselor, says that one of the needs of mourners is to search for meaning and “make it matter.” This search can involve questioning your faith and spirituality, asking “Why?” and “How?” and looking for purpose and meaning in your life. Wolfelt tells mourners to express this search outside of themselves to help find their way.

As I companion people involved in this search, I encourage them to be gentle with themselves and live the questions. I often quote Rainer Maria Rilke from Letters to a Young Poet:

I want to beg you as much as you can, to be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.

Many people living the questions do what they can to make things matter for themselves and in honor of their loved ones. Some try to live their best life; others try to make the world a better place.  And others work to make a difference in the lives of those close to them.

A tool that can help you have conversations around what matters most is the Have the Talk of a Lifetime deck of cards. Please check our Gatherings & Events page for upcoming opportunities to learn about these cards.

(First printed in the Gazette on February 22, 2018)

 

Leave a comment
Name*:
Email:
Comment*:

Comments

Please wait

Previous Posts

October 11 2021

As we continue our conversation about cherishing memories, my work provides me with the gift of hearing many cherished memories. I’ve shared many spaces with people grieving loved ones and when the...

October 4 2021

This month our theme is “Cherishing Memories.” Alan Wolfelt, Ph.D., considers remembering the person who died as one of the needs of mourners. You move from a relationship of presence to a relation...

September 27 2021

As we close out this month’s discussion of “Mustering Courage in Loss,” I invite you do as poet John O’Donohue suggests and engage the danger and the wildness in your own heart, even when your hear...

September 20 2021

I really appreciate this line from poet Alice Mackenzie Swaim, “Courage is not the towering oak that sees storms come and go; it is the fragile blossom that opens in the snow.” That is what it take...

September 13 2021

As we talk more about mustering courage in loss, let’s begin with the etymology of the words muster and courage. According to https://www.etymonline.com, the word muster means, "to display, reveal,...

September 6 2021

This month our theme is “Mustering Courage in Loss.” This is a very appropriate theme as we honor the 20th anniversary of 9-11. Koch Funeral Home was working with Alpha Fire Company to hold a Remem...

August 30 2021

For our final “Life with Tears and Laughter” themed post this month, I offer the poem, “The Guest House,” by Rumi, a 13th century Persian poet, scholar, theologian and Sufi mystic. This being huma...

August 23 2021

People often ask me how I take care of myself since my work involves life with tears and laughter. One of the things I do is allow myself to freely express my tears and laughter. I’ve learned that ...

August 16 2021

Now let’s look at the laughter portion of our theme, “Life with Tears and Laughter.” Research has shown that laughter is healthy for us emotionally, physically and socially. (Please read the July G...

August 9 2021

Continuing with our theme of “Life with Tears and Laughter,” this week I’ll talk about the tears. As a culture we accept tears around times of death but, they often then make us feel uncomfortable....