Friday, November 13, 2015


I fail at mindfulness every day. This morning I made myself a lovely breakfast then automatically read when I ate, so I can only barely tell you about the crunch of the toast, the unctuousness of the yolk, the bite of pepper and salt. I forgot to be mindful as I ate, so I am left only with a fullness in my stomach and the faint sheen of oil on my lips.

So it is with all the ways I strive to be mindful, including with grief. That being said, a lifetime of mindfulness practice has helped me on this journey since the moment Kevin was diagnosed, and I'm beginning to formulate some ideas about mindful grieving, the steps and observations that have helped me survive.

Shortly after he died someone wisely told me that it was okay to be sad. It was okay for me to wail and moan and not get out of bed. My beloved had died. So it has been since he was diagnosed; I've given myself permission to feel what I feel.

This leads me to the first step that has helped me survive. Be present with what I am feeling, with where I am right now. Inhabit this moment because I have no idea what the next moment will be. I don't even know if there will be another moment.

In the early days after Kevin's death I gave myself permission to grieve as deeply as I needed. I found that suppressing any of it led to much worse feelings later. If I let myself wail after awhile I would find myself in a neutral place and neutrality was in some ways a relief.

This made some people uncomfortable, but frankly I didn't and don't care. No one else gets to tell you how to grieve. Because I inhabited my grief fully, because I was mindful about it, when I finally found points of light again I was able to accept them without much struggle. I knew how sad I was and how much I longed for him. The moments of light were nothing to be ashamed of, no indication that my love was any less.

I live my sadness every day, but I don't resent it. Instead, I inhabit the sorrow as well as the joy so that the wonderful moments are not about the fear of forgetting what has gone before, but about being alive (just as is the sorrow). I inhabit and enjoy them for their own sake. It's not easy. In fact, I'd say it takes much more effort to do consciously than it does to just stay sad, but with all my heart, I cannot tell you how worth it this is.

Inhabit this moment. This feeling. This life.

(c)2015 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

No comments:

Post a Comment

True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
Related Posts with Thumbnails