Taking stock of the grieving process

At my work, things have been pretty hectic all year, with meetings, reports, resolutions, funding proposals, assorted urgent matters, political negotiations and bureaucratic routines, and it’s been hard handling everything while trying to process my parents’ deaths. Those losses bring personal pain. But this season has also offered openings for caring and consideration from relatives, friends and community. I’ve been blessed to have a compassionate group of colleagues at my workplace. They sent beautiful floral arrangements to both memorial services and a surprising number showed up for the services, even though they were in the middle of the work week. Others could not break away from work to get to the services, but there were always pesames y abrazos that went beyond mere formalities or courtesy: you can tell when people are really sincere.

I also received messages from readers of this blog who also extended their condolences, and I appreciate their concern.

In a way, the feverish pace of work meant that I didn’t spend a lot of time ruminating on how much I miss my parents, the impermanence of life or human suffering. The clear goals and tasks gave me precise priorities and milestones. I actually surprised myself with how well I performed over past six months.

Shortly after my parents’ interment, I underwent an emotional shift as the work pace slacked off, my wife visited her aging mother in Peru, and I had to grapple with the dense details of wrapping up my parents’ estate. It was time to grieve. It takes a while to recognize that change, and that’s when yoga, pranayama, mediation and mindfulness come in hand. It also helps to have family and friends to turn to.

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