Grief in Times of Survival

I have experienced grief in many ways, and at many times. As if water flooding a seasonal stream bed, seemingly grief etches channels into the landscape of my life.

Grief and loss surface in many forms. It can present by way of financial loss, the loss of a friendship, a break of trust, a divorce. It travels various paths and no matter what the loss — it can be difficult to feel as if you can survive those deeply etched lines of pain.

In my work as founder of Less Cancer, I often hear from people who are facing loss.

Professional therapists have ways of staging and diagnosing, but in my experience and from what I see and hear from those who reach out, reactions vary from denial, to anger, to paralyzing sadness.

While I am not a counselor, I am someone who has navigated those rough seas myself. The ‘pushing on’ was a concerted effort, a matter of survival of self with a focus on my family — particularly my children.

There are times in our lives when we have to pick ourselves up, move forward. As cliched as it sounds, it takes time. It takes friends and family and professional help. Many of us do move forward, most in fact. We do so for reasons I mentioned; we chose to lead our families. That requires standing up and slugging it out. And it is not easy.

Shifting seas make for complex and arduous sailing. We can meet that challenge-I know that first hand.

Recently, in our country, we are experiencing shifting seas. On any given day we are witness to social networking news feeds that are clogged with updates and headlines from both sides, republican and democratic. Words express grief, anger, disbelief, and discouragement. Fear can be paralyzing. No doubt we all have experienced this at one time or another.

But just like in personal loss, we must pick ourselves up and continue the work of life. We must commit to all being leaders in this regard. Thoughtful leaders, for ourselves, families and communities.

I founded Less Cancer at a time of grief, which was intended to bridge a gap that I saw. Less Cancer was the first and only organization devoted to cancer prevention at that time. Since then we have been gratified to see other organizations shift their focus towards prevention. It shows great promise.
 
I feel hope in instances where people themselves arrive at creative solutions. We see this with a couple initiatives of Less Cancer’s including National Cancer Prevention Day and its Workshop and the United States Congressional Cancer Prevention Caucus.

Al Gore just came up with a solution that saved an important CDC discussion about health and the environment. 
 
With so many creative solutions waiting to happen, my hope is that people will reach for those answers, dare to make mistakes and find ways of working together. That is the channeling of grief that can bring us all some solace.