There is no right way to grieve. We live in a day that likes to offer all sorts of methods and equations to handle yourself. It is the 10 step generation. Everybody wants to be in control, and every topic seems to have its experts - Experts who probably never experienced the thing they are talking about - but did some tests on monkeys and rats so they can sell a book on Oprah's book club.

Anyone that has gone through grief understands the prison bars that grief surrounds you in. Everything always seems to be attached to this grief. The way you see the world is shaped by your grief. The types of friends you let in is monitored by your grief. You take risks in accordance with your grief. You treat grief like a person - you ask for grief's permission before doing anything.

For women that have lost fathers, the role of a man becomes a pivotal role in your life - either from a mentor, significant other, or older brother. For men that have lost mothers, the role of a woman becomes similarly pivotal. Some years can be good - other years can be bad. Friendships become confusing, and the biggest prison becomes that of expectation. What are you supposed to expect as a result of grief? Are you supposed to be fully whole one day? Are you supposed to be completely healed of your loss? Will there ever be a day that you can actually experience love in its fullness?

Grief makes no exceptions - it is similar to death. When you grieve, you grieve hard. Fond memories do not help - they are actually annoying. When you grieve, people will try and console you, and you will want to throw something at their failed attempts. I don't have any answers, but I do have some thoughts ---

You cannot throw away your past when trying to move forward. We run away don't we? We run away from the thing that hurts us - we create an invisible, impenetrable (or so we think) force field around us so that we cannot get hurt. I firmly believe that each of us faces grief differently - and it is up to those of us around someone who is in the depths of hell to facilitate their healing. I believe in the power of friendships - and I also believe in the futility of mediocre friends. A friend can bring healing in out of the box ways - you don't have to pray with someone to be healing to them - in fact, the most annoying people I know always want to pray with me, as if that is going to make me believe that they are messengers from God.

Those of you that grieve must incorporate your loss into your present. If you are grieving the death of someone, that person is with you forever. Whether they were a saint or sinner, they are with you - a part of them is in you - so you embody what they meant to you everyday you breathe in their absence. We remember those we lost - not as a patronizing, patriotic symbol of culture - but we remember their love - not as a memory - but as a substance that lives in us despite their departure from this world. No one ever really dies. You live a bit differently when you wrestle with the immortality of your soul.

On stage, at parties, at church, on the basketball court, in the studio, at social gatherings, interviewing my heroes, loving people, eating dessert, working out - in all these things - I grieve. Peace, and much love to you - John Baptist.


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