Grief Uncovered

We have begun the process of written interviews with some individuals in our life. We are asking a number of people the same three questions in order to showcase the broad spectrum of grief- what we learn from it, how our perceptions of it have changed, etc. We will be posting each one over the next while and we are thrilled to post our first one!

The three questions posed to each participant are:

  1. What is your experience with grief?
  2. What were your perceptions of grief before?
  3. How have they changed or been proven true?

Thanks to Jes Hagen for being real with us and sharing her thoughts on each of these questions.

  1. What is your experience with grief? 

As I contemplated this question I realized that I have a hard time thinking upon a time where  I hadn’t already experienced some sort of grief. Whether in small ways as I experienced some  major injuries as a teen that caused me to step back from the dreams I had for myself, or the  turmoil of parents undergoing a bankruptcy that resulted in the loss of my Dads long-time  business and needing to move away from our hometown. Or, in the more intense ways of grief  when losing many people in my life. By the time I graduated high school, two of my  grandparents passed away (cancer and Alzheimer’s) and over the next years another two  grandparents (one from suicide), a favourite uncle to cancer and a farming accident that  claimed the life of my young cousin. Grief has always seemed to be part of my story, and I  believe is part of all our stories as we grieve losses of every kind. More recently, I have  experienced a grief that I believe has truly impacted me. Three years ago, I lost my Mom to a  short battle with metastatic melanoma. Walking through this has definitely given me a new  perspective, it changed the way I viewed grief, especially as I learned to truly let it become a part of me. 

2. What were your perceptions of grief before? 

Before these experiences, or at least before my mom passed away, I would probably say that  the whole idea of grief just scared me. It was a discomfort I did not want to live in long. This  may have to do with my being a enneagram nine. If you follow the enneagram, you would  know that nines are all about protecting their peace. Grief upsets peace and comfort more than most anything I am aware of. The fact that everything changes when grief is in the picture, has always been a hard thing for me to reconcile. So, I would try to avoid living in the moments and the feelings. It wasn’t until recent years as I gained healing through prayer counselling, that I have learned how to embrace the full gambit of emotions and feelings, good or bad. I have  realized that grief is not something to run from but something to face with openness and  bravery. I am learning what it feels like to have this grief become a part of me, change the way I  see and form me anew.  

3. How have they changed or been proven true? 

Grief and the perceptions of grief have changed me to the core. There is a scene that involves  Harry Potter seeing a creature called a ‘Thestral’ in the book ‘The Order of the Phoenix’, that I  relate to so much now. The thing about Thestrals is that they are only visible by someone if  they have witnessed death and have gained an emotional understanding of what death means.  This is so relatable because I feel that experiencing grief has changed not only the way I see  but what I see. Grief has altered my perspective, has grown my empathy and has charged me  to show up more for others more generously as they experience similar things. Even though I  would love to see my Mom (and others I have lost) again, I really am thankful for the teacher  grief has been and the depth it has grown in me. 

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