Today on The Silva Lining, I was joined by Reverend Cheryl Rieder, Pastor at the Congregational Christian Church of Somerset. With her years in hospice and bereavement counseling before receiving her calling, Cheryl has an amazing gift when it comes to grief. You can hear the proof in the podcast by how emotional I got after hearing her beautiful metaphor about grief being like standing at the shore of the ocean.
She is currently holding a grief support group that meets every Wednesday from 6-7:30pm at the Congregational Christian Church of Somerset at 1411 County Street. "This grief support group is offered and open to all of the community (ages 18 and older). If you have lost a loved one recently or maybe even a while ago, and you are struggling to cope, we are here to help you on your journey. You are welcome to attend one or all of the groups, the only requirement is that the group remains a confidential & safe sharing environment." No registration required.
Contact Rev. Cheryl at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (508) 672-6623
We talked about all of the different ways that people can express their feelings and emotions while grieving; writing/journaling, physical expressions like hammering a nail and exercise, art, music. Cheryl brought up the Buddhist Mandalas as an artistic and very symbolic mode of expression. I found a wonderful post on the blog, Creativity for the Soul, that shares an example of someone's use of mandalas as they journey through the loss of a child. CLICK HERE to read it.
Reverend Cheryl, when asked about grieving and pets, shared a beautiful quote, "If it breathes, it grieves". Not only is the grief over the loss of a pet real but also is the grief animals themselves feel, whether losing an owner or fellow pet. Their capacity for grief is as powerful and significant as their capacity to comfort. She brought up a poem called the Rainbow Bridge which I will share with you here.
There is a bridge connecting Heaven and Earth.
It is called the Rainbow Bridge because of all its beautiful colors.
Just this side of the Rainbow Bridge there is a land of meadows,
hills and valleys with lush green grass.
When a beloved pet dies, the pet goes to this place.
There is always food and water and warm spring weather.
The old and frail animals are young again.
Those who were sick, hurt or in pain are made whole again.
There is only one thing missing,
they are not with their special person who loved them so much on earth.
So each day they run and play until the day comes
when one suddenly stops playing and looks up!
The nose twitches! The ears are up!
The eyes are staring and this one runs from the group!
You have been seen and when you and your special friend meet,
you take him in your arms and hug him.
He licks and kisses your face again and again -
and you look once more into the eyes of your best friend and trusting
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together never again to be apart.
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