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An Anchor in the Storm

Facilitating the unpredictable journey through grief.

Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay
Source: Image by Gundula Vogel from Pixabay

She was struggling. I could see it. I could hear it. I could feel her desperation. I watched as liquid pain pooled in her eyes, obstructed her vision, and threatened to erupt. She held her breath trying to find her center – her anchor. I reached for her hand and whispered, “I am here. I’ve got you. Breathe.” She inhaled sharply as the tears breached the reservoir and rushed down her cheeks. Her shoulders rounded and shook violently as she sobbed. Death had darkened her doorstep and her world had shattered. She was stumbling, desperately seeking something secure, and frantically fighting for air. Grief is painful. It is intense. It is the inescapable price of loving fully.

I feel tremendously blessed to be able to facilitate grief groups and assist individuals as they awkwardly try to find their footing on unsteady terrain; to hold them as they timidly seek and anxiously gather the scattered pieces of their lives. They are empty. Shell-shocked. Numb. Before every session, I attempt to find my calm. My center. My anchor. I pray I will say the words they need to hear. Healing words. Hopeful words. My heart breaks for each of them. I know where they are. I have been there. It is a dark, cold, and lonely place.

Truth be told, there are still moments I find myself in that terrifying wasteland. But I am now secure enough to weather the storm, strong enough to withstand the pain, and hopeful enough to look toward the promise of life that remains. The brave souls who traveled this road before me willingly returned to the darkness to help me find my way. When I was desperately clinging to the past, their hands reached for mine. When the tumultuous waves of grief were pulling me under, their arms lifted me. When my lungs could not fill with life-sustaining oxygen, their love helped me breathe. It is with tremendous gratitude that I return to this place. I attempt to bring the light that was shared with me to others who are frightened, struggling, and disoriented. I brave their terrifying storms. I listen to their stories. I share their pain. Amidst the chaos, I try to be the hands, the arms, and the breath these struggling souls need.

Every meeting, every story, and every tear is a glimpse into the beautiful legacy of their loved ones. I am grateful to be able to learn about extraordinary individuals I would not have otherwise known. I am thankful for the reminder that love, relationships, and memories are what give life meaning. I am humbled by the trust these wounded hearts place in me as I guide them on this journey and serve as their anchor in the storm.

Copyright Linda Seiford, Ph.D.

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