Acceptance is the key element in healing grief. It is the cardinal crossing in the journey of grief, or so that's what I what I have been reading and what my counselor has been trying so hard to get across to me. But how do we come to accept what we do not want and did not ask for? How do I make myself accept something as terrible and painful as loss?
Acceptance is the key element in healing grief. It is the cardinal crossing in the journey of grief, or so that’s what I what I have been reading and what my counselor has been trying so hard to get across to me. But how do we come to accept what we do not want and did not ask for? How do I make myself accept something as terrible and painful as the death of a loved one?
Let’s face it, trying to “force” our acceptance is about as effective as trying to speed up our patience or implement some other insidious oxymoron, so I gave up and went to bed. As I lay there debating whether or not turn on the television my eyes were drawn to a small treasured statue of Saint Barbara. I had carefully positioned her on the top shelf above all the books and media to “watch over me”. Dressed in her cardinal red cape with a golden challis in her right hand, she confidently gripped a removable plastic sword in her left. Suddenly comforted by her serene presence, I set the remote aside and opted for sleep.
When I woke up the next morning I felt as if I had been instructed somehow to bring the statue down from such an unreachable space, remove the sword from her hand and lay it down beside her. While it may have felt a bit compulsive at first, as I thought about it, it seemed like a reasonable thing to do. After all, laying the sword down could serve as a sort of reminder to stop fighting myself, and all the terrible and objectionable things I was supposed to be “accepting”.
I quickly got up, grabbed the bench next to the bed and pulled it in front of the shelf. Holding on to the wall, I climbed up onto the bench and just as I was about to reach for the statue, my mouth suddenly fell open in disbelief. The sword was not in her hand, it was lying down on the shelf beside her! It took me a few seconds, but I gently lifted her from the shelf, picked up the sword and walked around my tiny living space searching for a more appropriate place to set her down. My attention was drawn to the fireplace, where above the mantle was a narrow brick shelf. It seemed the perfect place, the heart of my home where I always keep a candle burning in the hearth.
I couldn’t help but to wonder how or why the sword had come down by itself. Was there an actual spirit connected to the statue or was it some new aspect of “The Cardinal Experience”? However it got there, I tried to tell myself that the important thing was that I was given something tangible to help remind me daily that acceptance could only begin when I stopped thinking that there was something I had to do, or that “I” was the one who had to do something, when in fact, it had already been done.
Cardinal Cheers & Blessings,