April 13, 2020

Resources, Ideas to Action

On Grieving


Last week as I was creating this framework for Strategic Thinking in a Long-Term Crisis, I came across a hole in our library of resources: grieving.

Up With Community has tools and resources to share on trauma, but we were lacking supports to offer during the waves of grief, both overt and subtle, that are flowing through our communities right now.

For me, rituals of grieving were something that I learned through family tradition. First, as an altar girl serving funerals at my local parish and then through the aging of loved ones in our circle. The spirit of this learning still serves me today. And I’d like to connect with others through more interfaith, cross-cultural and non-dogmatic foundations for sharing in grieving and engaging in rituals together.

Last week I put a call out to our network for valuable resources on grief. Thank you to all who contributed thus far. Gabriela Alcade, Maura Bairley, Laura Gale, Dennis Johnson, Lulu Miller, Elizabeth Seja Min, Jyothi Natarajan, Nitika Raj, Brigette Rouson, Mark Rovner, Edith Sargon, Phoenix Soleil and Katie Unger, thank you!

This list is offered from the belief that there are many ways to grieve, that no form of grief is more deserving than another and that grieving is an iterative, cyclical process that takes time. We also believe that this catharsis can surprise us. By turning towards—rather than away from—what we need to feel, we can take the next step.

Late-stage capitalism and the pursuit of white supremacy have sought to strip cultures and communities of our rituals of grieving, as well as commodify and profit off of exploiting the practices and cultures of BIPOC communities. Today, we reject both.

Nurturing our relationships with ourselves and each other, we step into the waves of grief when and where we are called to. Hopefully this list can be a chair, a mirror, a handkerchief or a light in that process.

If you have a resource to add to this list, please email: nicola@upwithcommunity.org. We’ll be updating this post regularly.


Updated 6.6.20

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by David Whyte

Those who will not slip beneath
     the still surface on the well of grief,

turning down through its black water
     to the place we cannot breathe,

will never know the source from which we drink,
     the secret water, cold and clear,

nor find in the darkness glimmering,

the small round coins,
     thrown by those who wished for something else.