Moments of Grief with the Spring Blossoms

Saturday April 11, 2020

By Camille Barton, GEN Toolkit Consultant

This Easter weekend I am sitting in the sun pouring through my kitchen window, feeling into this moment and listening to the stories in the wind; the new world that wants to be born. 

For some it is the end of the world, a sudden end to Western life as we know it. For many others, it is merely another moment of rupture and chaos that has regularly featured in their lives since the apocalypse of colonisation, war or displacement. As Stephen Jenkinson notes in Come of Age: The Case for Elderhood in a Time of Trouble, “Sudden is the confession of an unwillingness to heed the signs, to learn the spoor and sprawl of your days. Sudden is the tyranny of the future, the not yet, imagined to be hiding in the spell of potential…You found there a parallel universe taunting the universe you’ve learned with the allegation that it could all have been otherwise, and so should have been, and so could still be otherwise, if only you get it right this time.”  

In this moment, I am hyper aware of the need to grieve. To name and metabolise the losses as they move through me. The loss of the world as I know it, the disproportionate amount of Black and Brown bodies dying from COVID-19, the intergenerational loss of my indigenous ways of caring for the Earth; my fears about the future(s) that could emerge. It is in this fertile soil that I am able to start to vision the more beautiful world my heart knows is possible. To slow down, rest and listen to the new story that is being born. To feel the care of my ancestors and remember the ways they have survived joyfully through other endings and portals of chaos. 

I am grateful to have learnt a practice from Tricia Hersey, founder of the Nap Ministry, called the grief jar. She invites folks to find a jar and put it somewhere safe and sacred to you, then cut up small pieces of paper, placing them next to the jar. When you feel a moment of grief, you write it on the piece of paper and put it in the jar.  You can read more about this in Tricia’s beautiful essay, Rest Supports Grieving: Grief Rituals. When my jar is full, I will burn my pieces of paper or soak them in water before disposing of them.  

I am taking each day as it comes. I am grateful for the gift of this research which is allowing me to process my feelings, pay my rent and feel into the collective. I am thankful for mutual care networks, disabled folks & allies, Utopian visions and visionaries, speculative science fiction, creatives, care givers, clowns and front line workers being of service in this moment. I hope and look forward to increasing global solidarity and relational ways of thinking. We are all in this together- we decide where the story goes.

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