Grieving Together:  A Wheel for ‘Holding Our Grief’

Grief wheel, mounted to brick wall, with small papers pinned to it.

Our ministry and pastoral care team tries to be as systematic and reliable as possible about acknowledging grief in our congregation.  No one should feel they have to go through their grieving unsupported and on their own.  It truly breaks my heart whenever I learn that I have dropped the ball and have failed to reach out when one of us could have used a caring presence.

And, as our pastoral care team reviewed our offerings, we realized that we typically fail to acknowledge a broad range of losses other than the death of a loved one.  Losses that clearly result in grief yet are less socially recognized.

For many of us the death of a pet is comparable to the loss of a family member.  The end of a relationship can be traumatic.  The termination of a job or a career can feel like a huge loss in identity.  Same with changes in our health, both physical and mental.  Really any change in identity can trigger waves of grief.  Grief is grief, regardless of its cause, regardless of its cultural acceptance and acknowledgment.

In some ways, these non-death losses are even more complicated to navigate because our culture provides so little guidance and support.  Hence, we decided to experiment.  On our wall behind the Joys & Sorrows table, you see the new “Holding Our Grief” wheel.

All of us are invited to add to the webbing of the wheel as it feels most meaningful, touching on anything you are grieving.  Attach a piece of paper or fabric and write a name, a situation, a feeling.  Sign and date it, or leave it anonymous.  Fold it or keep it open for all to read.

The Pastoral Care Associates will follow up each month with those grief notes linked to a name.  Once the wheel fills up, we will take a photo and make space for new additions.  We may create a booklet that contains images of the “Holding Our Grief” wheel over time, as a reminder of our history of grieving together.

Please add to the wheel at any time:  before the service, after the service, during Joys & Sorrows, or during the week.  May we find comfort in the communal holding of our grief.

With love, care, and a wide open heart,


2 Responses to “Grieving Together:  A Wheel for ‘Holding Our Grief’

  1. I am so grateful for this. For so many people in this culture, there are no rituals for grieving no acknowledgment no training and support since the death of a person is only a tiny part of one of the many things that cause deep profound grief and grieving is something to be done; it is an activity so important to the human condition of the human heart, in to our entire lives. This is a cornerstone being made whole, of presence of mind, over and over.

    1. And when I write “ so many people” I start
      With myself. Awareness of grief it’s impact, it’s power it’s many forms and grieving as well, it turning point for me, in midlife. A good one.
      with myself.

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