Freedom to Grieve Loss

Good morning. Today dawns bright and clear here in the San Francisco Bay Area. It is my day to visit a friend who is incarcerated. He wasn’t a friend when I started… when I started, I didn’t even know him. I offered to visit when his visitor moved away and I learned he was devastated to lose his only visitor. I went to be of service.

What I soon discovered was a person who has grown in self-awareness and accountability for his actions. I have had the honor to witness his growth from one of fairly self-absorbed to one of genuine concern and caring for those around him. His growth has evolved form one who handled his altercations with references to violence, to one of peace. It has been a pleasure to watch the transformation over the past four or five years I have been visiting.

I have gained quite a bit from him as far as my own healing also. You see, when I started visiting, I was afraid to publish my book, afraid to let the world know who I was, much less to get my book out there. Through his gentle guiding me to see myself as a beautiful person, filled with passion, compassion, and concern for others, I was able to heal from my poor self-image, and to finally publish my book. You might say he was responsible for me being able to blog and share who I am.

After each visit, I leave, more grateful each time for my freedom and all that it entails. The freedom to cry when I am sad or joyous, for example. I am reminded of this aspect of freedom, as I think about him mourning the loss of his older brother who died last Sunday. I anticipate today to be rather somber as a result. I am appreciative of my freedom to cry, to mourn freely, as he does not have that luxury. A male cannot cry in prison for to do so would place him in jeopardy of his safety.

With me, he is able to express his feelings, his emotions, and he has grown in his ability to do this in an appropriate manner. I recently read a grief recovery book, and feel more equipped to handle his grief as a witness and confidant to his own. So it is with somewhat of a heavy heart that I prepare to travel to the prison, knowing that today will be a difficult visit, but also knowing I can allow his the expression of his grief.

And with that, I must close and get dressed for the day. Today, cherish your freedoms for even the slightest things that you now take for granted. Know that you are free to express yourself, your emotions, and to heal in a timely fashion, rather than continue to hold the grief inside. And with that, I wish you a good day.

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