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When a New Wound Makes All the Old Wounds Ache

Updated: Mar 30

Just recently, I came across an article about grief called "Grief That Does Not End" by the author and researcher Paul C. Rosenblatt. It felt perfect to share today because I think it captures the essence of this past year and a half perfectly, with so many losses that many people have experienced during the pandemic.

In the past, I used to think of grief as a singular event or loss that, with time, I would gradually process and finally, feel a sense of peace.

However, his research on grief has changed my perspective. He talks about the experience of a "grief recurrence," which is exactly what this year has felt like for me.

"One of the most significant reminders of previous loss is a new loss. Thus, the fresh grief for a new loss may often be entangled in grief for other losses."

It’s been seven years since my mom passed away and for the most part, I’ve been able to rebuild my life and find most of the joy that I used to feel. Yet, every so often, I am reminded of her gentleness, her kindness, and when I was in her presence, somehow everything felt like it would be OK. With all the turmoil going on in the world this year, I’ve had a longing to be with her that I haven’t felt in years.

"For people who do not expect grief to recur, the fact of recurrence may itself be a source of grief." He goes on to say that, "there may also be a sweet, affirming, and to-be-cherished side" to a grief recurrence.

"It can be a link with the best of life, an affirmation of light and joy. This is not to say that recurrent grief is not difficult for many people but to say that there is much more to it than sorrow."

In his book, The Wild Edge of Sorrow, author Francis Weller talks about the "accumulated" losses of a lifetime that slowly weigh us down. I think that is what has made this year so exhausting for so many of us. The concerns related to the pandemic have been ongoing, with no reprieve.

I have found myself needing to slow the world down. To sit in a quiet place, away from it all. To turn off my phone, to sit quietly with my cup of tea.

There has been a tiny little red bird that has come to rest on my balcony and as I pause in my writing, I hear the sweet sounds of chirping. And when I awaken the next morning, the little bird has returned, with a sweet serenade to begin the day.

Mom in her youth


Ruth has worked in the field of employment counselling for a period of 25 years and has loved the opportunity to help individuals reach their career goals. She is passionate about the need for improving the mental health of individuals and the need to ensure that all people have access to a safe and supportive work environment.

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