top of page
Community Grief Gathering
Community Grief Gathering
This is a long explanation about a short but sensitive event. I hope you'll understand why after looking through it....
Sunday, November 12th we will be holding one year since our son Julius’s death by suicide. And one year since this community wondrously came together to help make beauty of tragedy. We are letting our hearts break. Though Jonathan, Jaye, Lily, Kelly, Jeff, and I can't know what we each will be up for this day, I know as much as I'd love to be part of another coming together of community, so much so that I'm willing to help plan and show up for it, even in rawness. But here's the thing: I don't want flowers or sympathy that set me apart as special. Because it seems to me, we are all grieving something. What I long for that day is connection, sitting with you in the realness of your own grief, too, in a setting intended to deeply nurture each of us. So in this spirit I ask,
What grief are YOU holding?
How did witnessing Julius’s death change YOU
or your relationship to grief & death?
I share with you now this vision of options I invite you to co-create with me that afternoon:
dropping by when you can, staying for as long as you like , rather than a formal grief circle that some may not be able to attend
a fire to tend
writing about your grief, privately ahead of time or on site, to put in The Grief Basket for burning that eve, especially if not ready to share aloud
writing about how witnessing Julius's death changed you, ahead of time to email Molly or on site, for a community compilation
talking about your grief with one of the Grief Tenders present, who are trained or skilled in holding space, and who will be wearing black sashes, especially if you don't yet feel ready to with other guests
taking turns sharing and holding space with other guests, if you feel ready
listening to music by local musicians, even if you don't partake in any of the other options
enjoying the presence of these Celo-based organizations : Death Seedling Life who co-created with you all Julius's vigil & burial, and some of its DeathFellows, Remembering Earth who facilitated Julius's teen memorial, and Into the Light Community Companions for End of Life who formed inspired by witnessing Julius's death, should learning more about their offerings inspire you, too
If you're not sure what grief you hold, aside from a loved one's death, here are possibilities all of us hold, some simply from enduring modern civilized living:
Here's more about the list'a first five, Francis Weller's Five Gates of Grief summarized in video and in writing from his book I highly recommend, Wild Edge of Sorrow. Please note, while our event is not suited to processing trauma out loud, it can honor trauma by your writing about it for the Grief Basket, at your discretion.
Here's the other thing to explain. Since our society doesn't teach us how to do grief skillfully, and grief may be one of the hardest things there is, public grief events often entail long explanations too, but also a structured container to keep the experience healthy and loving. And I'd rather honor what each of us is up for that day with an open container, which in some ways involves greater challenge. So if you do decide to share some grief out loud––and I hope you too are willing to get a bit bravely vulnerable––here are intentions we invite you into:
first asking each other's permission, being ok saying or receiving "no thank you" or "oh thank you"
keeping confidentiality, non-judgement &compassion, especially with big emotions welcomed here
taking turns sharing and listening, mindful of equal time with other than Grief Tenders
respecting comfort zones, neither over nor under sharing
saying simply "thank you" after someone's share, rather than trying to fix, cheer up, praise, compare stories, or offer unsolicited advice, as we're taught , with the best intentions
As the old saying goes, joy shared is multiplied, sorrow shared is divided. Community may be needed for, and the result of, tending one another's grief.
For more about grief, here are more resources I'd recommend:
Martin Prechtel's The Smell of Rain on Dust
Stephen Jenkinson's Die Wise
how to talk to someone grieving from David Kessler and his offerings
how to help a grieving friend from Megan Devine and her book It's Ok That You're Not Okay
Here's what to bring:
1. BYOG: "bring your own grief" plus a photo or other memento
to show about your grief or how you’ve changed with Julius’s death
2. your own chair
to relax and stay awhile
3. your own drink & snack
so we may focus instead on nourishing our connections
Event Date: Sunday, November 12th, 2023
2-6pm drop in
end time in appreciation of Open Studios artists
Venue: our son's grave in the woods beside our home
rain or shine, raincover provided
Who: all welcome, even those we've not yet met
We welcome you, as you are.
bottom of page