Who is guarding your heart?  Who can you count on to look out for your needs and ensure that your peace of mind is not disturbed?  These are not meant to be trick questions even though the answer is obvious.  No one else will take care of us the way we can and the way we are meant to do it.  The guarding of our heart and our own peace of mind is an inside job; it requires gentle awareness and on-going vigilance.

These questions came to mind this past week when, during all the memorials for 9/11 and the re-imaging of those terrible sad days in our history, I frequently found myself and others with tears in our eyes.  If circumstances permitted, we would talk about what we were feeling in response to the stories of loss and survival from a decade ago.  In some ways the memories are still so fresh.  At other times this national remembering seems to be triggering all the yet unresolved personal grief from other losses in our lives.

The more powerful the images we look upon, the more deeply we may feel the connection to them and to all that they represent.  Going through old photos of people who have passed from our sight, touching their things that we may still have in our possession, and simply remembering stories about them can trigger waves of emotion even years after a loved one’s death.

With each loss we are changed forever.  Something or someone leaves and in their place we must readjust or reform our lives around that empty space.  Learning to do that adjustment while continuing to embrace life is not a science, but it is an essential life skill we all must acquire if we are to protect our hearts and minds from the onslaught of life’s inevitable changes.

Here are three gentle ways to process re-emerging grief:

  1. Get together with someone who also knew your loved one and share memories.  Let tears and laughter be an honest part of the sharing.
  2. Put a treasured photo of this dear one out where you see it again for a few days or weeks.  Remember the good times and forgive and release the others.
  3. Be in gratefulness for all the blessings of your life, not just the years you had with the one no longer with you.

Our hearts are tender receptacles of our life’s experiences. They deserve our care through all the days we are here.  And no one will care for your heart like you can!

I welcome you comments.