Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Acknowledging Grief

A few weeks ago I found myself "on edge" quite a bit. I would become angry - or at least irritable - with great frequency, and even small incongruities or comments would set me off. I didn't feel comfortable in my own skin, and I sensed that something was "wrong" with me, but I couldn't figure out what it was.
One morning as I sipped my coffee I decided to lay out a Celtic Cross for myself, and the center of the spread was the Page of Wands reversed, crossed by the 3 of Swords. I was a bit puzzled, but I knew that the Page was me. The first word that popped into my head about the relationship of this card to my own state of being was "petulant." Touchy, grumpy, testy, querulous, bad-tempered. Yep. Setting that aside, I then decided to pull another Celtic Cross for a loved one. In the position that represents the significant people in one's environment, I once again drew the Page of Wands reversed. Sigh. There I was again. And if I showed up here, then I knew that this important person was feeling the reverberations of my touchiness. I didn't want that.

So I decided to draw a solution card. What could help me right the energy of this reversed Page? I shuffled and cut the deck, and I drew the 5 of Cups. Hm! 3 of Swords, 5 of Cups. A common theme was forming related to grief, sadness, regret, mourning...... What did all of this have to do with my mood?
I set it on the back burner to percolate as I got ready for work. And then on my drive in it all hit me. This past year has been the most difficult and devastating of my entire life. I am still processing all of the changes and the associated emotions, which vary greatly, but are mostly quite painful. Over the summer my kids spent time up north with their grandparents and I was afforded a very unusual period of alone time. During that time I found that I'd be going about my days and weeks quite ordinarily, when seemingly out of the blue I was walloped by body-wracking waves of tearful grief. This would occur periodically, and each time I was surprised by the depth of hurt that would manifest. At the same time it was quite cathartic, and I always ended up feeling better. I became grateful for the space, the time alone, because I realized that if I were surrounded by the busy-ness of kids' schedules, and school requirements, in addition to everything else vying for my attention, I would likely have been too distracted for this outpouring of feeling.

On the ride to work, it all clicked into place. I realized that I was experiencing what would have been a crashing wave of grief, but with the constant flow of my external world (the kids had already come back, among many other things) I didn't have the quiet space to recognize it. Instead of sadness, it was showing up as anger. In that moment I started to cry, and it was like a release-valve immediately relieving the built-up pressure. I had a name for it; I understood what was happening to me, and why. I was deeply grateful for the way the cards had urged me toward that realization, and the reminder that I'm still working my way through a process that takes time and requires a special effort to ensure that I am taking care of myself.


  1. We are lucky to have in our cards a wonderful and wise companion that will support us and nudge us to see those things that our mind maybe doesn't want to deal with. Sending you lots of love Olivia.

    1. Thanks, Dianna! Yes, the cards are invaluable in that way! Thanks for your kind words :)