Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Compassion and Condolence: Finding the Words to Walk Together

What is compassionate condolence?

It isn’t just about picking the right card… It is about stepping up as a messenger of support
when someone you know is facing one of life’s most uncomfortable occurrences-- DEATH--the loss of a loved one.

It is a time of great passion.

"Jin" Compassion [Source]
The Buddhist nun and poet, Otagaki Rengetsu wrote of of our challenge in facing the death of someone dear:

"It is hardest to be the one left behind.”

I addressed acts of compassion in this poem:

To Gentle The Cheerless Corners

It is a sharp edged world we live in,
As if splinters and slashes stalk us
Like self-willed entities.
They set snare for us:  mean-spirited,
And intent on little tortures.

Always a quick wounding;
Instantly known and cursed,
Lifted to the lips,
Simply salved yet revisited with surprise-
A searing moment when cleansed or flexed.
In time, a healed in flesh-
A faint pucker, pink halo.

To heal by the sword- cloaked and wary,
We remain blind and bleeding
From our own sharp edges.

To heal by grace-
Kind and caring,
We smooth the splintered plank,
Dull the point,
And gentle cheerless corners of
The sharp-edged world.

 Where do I begin?

Before you pick up a pen, you begin by connecting with feelings--the ones in your heart, not your head: good feelings...uncomfortable feelings…

I want to get into a heart-centric place because it is there that I won’t face internal censors and fears.
I will be honest and empathetic. Common fears about writing condolence are:

Put these fears aside aside; they are all surmountable. Follow the link of each fear, to the Coach's solution.

The heart-centric place

Author photo
The heart-centric place is like a slideshow:  of memories and moments for gratitude. Get inspired-- did you know the root of that word is to be IN SPIRIT?

Get out a pad of paper and pen and FOCUS a JOYFILLED and/or GRATEFUL SPOTLIGHT  on the deceased. You can also include thoughts about a caregiver or special person in their life. Just let it flow.

When you've filled up a page, you will have many thoughts to choose from in composing your compassionate condolence.

Thank you for caring!

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