Transcribed from a journey, February 2021, and written in Mary’s voice. Mary has been speaking to me this way for several years and a book of her messages is forthcoming.
I want to talk about grief.
So much secret sadness, behind closed doors and in houses and apartments. Like it’s in boxes. I want to encourage you not to put it under the bed, not to hide it away in the attic. How deeply and dearly you need each other, to be witnessed and to bear witness. This is how you undo a little of the damage of this time.
An outpouring of grief cannot be denied. It must be heard and felt and seen, and when that happens it’s like water flowing over the earth. It washes away the crust and debris of the ages. It makes the ground fertile for what wants to grow there, what would grow if given the chance. There are new cultural flowers ready to bloom, but they need the waters of grief. The acknowledgement of what you’ve been through, the real understanding of the pain: without these, there can be no empathy, growth, or new insight. You must acknowledge the heartbreak in order to heal it, just as you do with a broken bone or a broken machine. You must see it, feel into the brokenness, understand how the parts could fit together given time and energy and reparative attention.
You will be forced to repeat the past unless the waters flow and the new flowers are encouraged to bloom. You will tread the same hard ground again. How could it be otherwise?
Many griefs will still happen because that is part and parcel with being alive in this human body. You learn to be with pain by being with pain, your own and each other’s. You learn to become engineers of the heart, navigators of life, only by doing, not with theory and certainly not with secrets. You learn empathy — or rather, relearn empathy– by being quiet and still enough to recognize pain. Children are empathetic naturally. They weep over the butterfly’s torn wing, over the dog with no home; they collect pennies for hungry people and want to solve the world’s problems with their beautiful innocence. They walk with unadulterated love: think on this term. They have not yet been tampered with, not yet told that their hearts should be hidden away. Their love is up front, as your should be as adults. As yours could be, if you practiced and remembered. If you knew how loved you are in your vulnerability and honesty. Allow yourself to remember what you felt as a child, the sweet and obvious heartbreaks of realizing that the world could be hard, before you told yourself you were inured to that.
There is justice in your grief. It may not look like the solution you think you need, but it is a form of justice, affirmation, solidarity. To say, “yes, this happened” and be echoed, “yes it did.”
There is solidarity in your sadness, right now. You are not alone.
Please do not put your grief in a box and hide it away, to be taken out only on occasion, and then secretly, with the door closed as though it’s an illicit thing.
Collectively, you are grieving having lost so many to the pandemic and to so many other things, as well, to war and illness and accidents and guns and all of the forms of violence that plague you. Those who have lost someone directly know the special and acute pain of this kind of loss. It comes with questions about how it got to be this way. There is anger and shame, guilt, a desire for vindication. It is a complicated grief. And there are so many of you feeling this—right now, as you read these words. Know that I am with you and I understand and I do not judge you. I have felt these things, as well, remember. It is a grief with no peace in it.
And for those who have not lost someone this way, please understand that, in fact, you have also lost someone. You have lost a neighbor, a potential friend, a customer or client or helper, a fellow citizen. You have lost a member of your community, whether you knew them or not. You can’t know them now, can’t pass them in the street. I say this not to make you feel bad, but to show you the simple truth that you have also lost something. If you have trouble feeling the reality of the loss, if the scale alone isn’t making it through to you because of numbness or abstraction, it’s okay. But perhaps you can make space in your awareness for the possibilities of grief.
It is important that you all feel this. That you understand the enormity of the sadness. This may seem morbid or counterintuitive, but the waters must rise and run through the land. There must be an outpouring. It is important that you let yourselves feel this. You aren’t built to be ceaselessly optimistic, and in fact, that would be delusion. Please let your hearts break. Please let this in. The sadness is the way to solutions, shifts and changes. The sadness is justice and advocacy. Let the waters run over the land.
All of you can contribute to the great outpouring of grief that will, must, enter the parched earth. Give the earth, give your community, the gift of your tears. Let it be honest and true, transparent and innocent as a child’s beautiful heartbreak. Let this compassion and connection carry you into the next day, where creativity will take its place.
Please do not put your grief in boxes.
If you cannot cry today, then pray. Reflect. Allow a moment of consideration. Do not shy away. Do not be afraid of the weight of this, for as more and more of you agree to carry it, it will become somewhat lighter. Be brave and broken, my children. And do it together. Let it be public and vocal and quiet and desperate and real. Your grief is proof of your humanity and love for one another. Please do not hide it away. Comfort each other and you will find comfort yourselves.