Grief and loss are two of our greatest teachers in life.
As a funeral professional, you likely already know that. But it’s very rare that we really take the time to share the lessons in a way that synthesizes the new way we are being asked to face loss & grief as death care workers.
Here are 7 beautiful videos that really tap us into the power of grief & loss, and how people are using that power to inspire others.
Grab a box of tissues, and check them out below:
1. Grief and love in the Animal Kingdom – Barbara J King
The Lesson: Watching the way all different animals in the animal kingdom grieve shows us the affects grief has on us. And it also helps us see that by knowing we are not alone in grieving, we can tap into how natural and necessary grieving is. It means we, as in all living beings, are connected by a deep bond. These real and deep emotions are what make us beautiful. And, Barbara hopes that it can open us up to compassion for not only our animal friends, but our human friends as well.
Want to learn more? Follow Barbara on Twitter.
2. Talk About Your Death While You Are Still Healthy – Michelle Knox
The Lesson: If we don’t talk about death, how can we support those who are grieving? Knowing her father had a good death – the death he wanted, helped Michelle Knox through her grief. This Ted Talk encourages us to get comfortable with death so we can be fully present not only with ourselves when it happens, but also for others.
Want to learn more? Follow Michelle on Twitter.
3. How Loss Helped One Artist Find Beauty in Imperfection – Alyssa Monks
The Lesson: “She knew what was happening, and she knew what the doctors and the experts and the internet didn’t know: how she wanted to go through this. I just needed to ask her,” Alyssa explains about her mother’s death. She realized that just being with her mother, and listening to her, and giving up control of the situation, was the best way to support her mother through her journey to death. This talk emphasizes the importance of holding space, rather than fixing, and the power it holds in the final weeks, months or years of someone’s life.
Want to learn more? Follow Alyssa on Instagram.
4. A Sci-Fi Vision of Love from a 318 Year Old Hologram – Monica Byrne
The Lesson: In a future where science extends us past universal limits, what is the true cost of avoiding loss & grief? A thought provoking performance piece that asks what is the meaning of life… without death.
Want to learn more? Follow Monica on Twitter.
5. A Video Game to Cope with Grief – Amy Green
The Lesson: After facing a terrible prognosis for her two-year-old child, Joel, Amy decided to face it in a way that most don’t. She created a video game on the cancer Joel had. She explains that she took the vulnerability that Joel taught her, and encoded video game with it. She goes on to explain the video game, saying:
“We subverted that principle of game design, collapsing the choices in on the player so that they discover for themselves that there is nothing that they can do that will change the outcome for Joel. And they feel that discovery as deeply and desperately as we felt it on nights when we held Joel in our arms praying for hours, stubbornly holding out hope for a grace that we could not create for ourselves.”
This lesson in all of this is that, yes, we’d all prefer to win. But when you discover that you can’t win, what do you value instead?”
Want to learn more? Check out Amy’s website.
6. The Journey Through Loss and Grief – Jason B Rosenthal
The Lesson: Through his journey with loss, Jason explains the greatest lesson he’s learned about the relationship between birth and death. In Japanese Zen, there is a term that perfectly describes it, called “Shoji,” which translates as “birth death.” This helps explain the lack of separation between birth and death, other than a thin line that connects them.
He goes on to explain: “Birth, or the joyous, wonderful, vital parts of life, and death, those things we want to get rid of, are said to be faced equally. In this new life that I find myself in, I am doing my best to embrace this concept as I move forward with grieving.”
Want to learn more? Follow Jason on Twitter.
7. How My Son’s Short Life Made a Lasting Difference – Sarah Gray
The Lesson: After finding out that her son had a birth defect that would give them only days together, Sarah decided to donate his body to science. In doing so, she learned that her loss could be transformed into a gift that extended far beyond her imagination. Watch the full video to tap into the great gift of transformation she endured.
Want to learn more? Follow Sarah on Twitter.
What have been your most powerful lessons on grief and loss as a death care professional? Tell us in the comments below!