“There is no pain on earth that does not crave a benevolent witness.” Sue Monk Kidd
What is the difference between grief and mourning?
We grieve when we are heartbroken from loss. It can be the loss of a significant other through death, separation, divorce, brain injury or dementia. We grieve lost parts of ourselves… our self-esteem, a belief system, dreams for our future, a body part through illness, a cognitive part through decline. We grieve our losses during developmental transitions… children growing up and leaving home, a midlife transition, empty nest syndrome, retirement. We may lose our home, move to assisted living, lose our belongings, or the objects that link us to the past. The world may no longer feel safe.
Mourning is the outward expression of grief; mourning is grief gone public. The tradition of wearing black when mourning invites others to ask…”Who died? Tell me what you lost.” Mourning helps us overcome our fear of being seen as weak or indulgent. Shared grief moves us into a sense of connection with people, and it’s that connection, the love and support of others, that helps heal our broken heart. Grief that is not shared can remain unchanged in us for decades, a small sad child waiting to be warmed.
While nothing takes away the pain of grief, finding a safe place to express your grief is what begins the healing process. It can mean talking about your feelings to a trusted friend or family member, or talking with a grief counselor. My own losses have opened me to the grief of the broken hearted; my decade of work in hospice has given me the skills to sit with others in their mourning and honor their stories of loss. If you would like more information about my private practice, please contact me.
Follow this link to a recent podcast I did on Living Gently With Grief with Dona Bumgarner on The Nurturing Habit podcast.
“Nancy was my grief counselor for more than a year, during and after my mother’s dying time. It was a time of elemental vulnerability. She lent me her wisdom, warmth, steadiness, and an abiding trust in the grief process itself. Her work is skillful, intuitive, grounded and fluid. In and around my tears, she nurtured a field of patience, compassion, indomitable spirit and love itself. She is heartwarming for the heartbroken.” L.J. Santa Fe, NM
“Nancy provides deep empathy and heart, and an embodied knowledge of the experience and process of grief.” C.W. Sacramento, CA
“Nancy’s transparency in sharing her own grief helped me feel less shameful when I was feeling overwhelmed. She was an invaluable role model for me. W.R. Ione, CA
“You taught me that it is safe to grieve, and that to resist the process is to deny my very humanity.” T.D.Z. Santa Cruz, CA