Also time to grieve

It’s the way people heal and it’s important to remember that around the holidays

The author, a longtime Chico resident, has been actively creating opportunities to befriend death and embrace grief in local venues since 2011.

The holidays are thought of as a time for family, merriment and year-end review. But for many, they are a time for grieving instead. Grieving is the fundamental way people heal, change or grow—the natural, normal, unlearned, spontaneous response to experiences that challenge our core sense of who we are and of how the world works.

Grieving is intrinsic to our experience of being human, and whatever the cause of our grieving, our grief touches the lives of others. It is inherent in life that we will experience loss, the consequence of love. Failure to grieve is a failure to live fully.

Modern people are, however, woefully untrained, and largely unpracticed, in the normal work of grieving, which, like all human activity, takes place within relationships. Central to relating is the capacity to witness another, both in times of joy and times of sorrow. This, too, is a skill we’re seldom taught and in which we have little practice.

Ongoing opportunities to practice both grieving and being witness to grief are present locally in monthly meetings of the Council for Grieving. It entails authentic expression, attentive listening and reflective spontaneity in a setting of respect, equality and care. In a circle in which each person takes the time to express something of his or her story, and each offers attention to all others, there emerges a collaboration discerning the truth of the heart in our community at this time.

Council for Grieving is an outgrowth of development of public discourse on end-of-life issues and the culture shift in attitudes toward death spurred locally by the Alliance for Support and Education in Dying and Death, which presented its fifth “Befriending Death” event the same week CN&R published the cover story “Departing” (Oct. 26).

As we become less committed to death-denial, it is abundantly clear we must shed the grief-illiteracy that maintains it. Now is a good time for grieving; please join us. Go to or contact for info.