Wyrd Words: Grief and Renewal

Wyrd Words: Grief and Renewal July 2, 2015

Greetings, and welcome back to Wyrd Words. Keeping the Thor in Thursdays, here on Agora!


Good gods what a month! It has just been a non stop rush from one chaotic bit of madness to the next! Seriously!

We had a bunch of THIS  photo stethoscopes-250356_1280_zpslh2pcp1m.jpg

 photo ap_charleston_church_01_jc_150622_16x9_992_zpszefbwgjr.jpg  Followed by one of THESE!

And then we had a   photo Helena_zps1ycqpdgf.png

 photo rainbow whitehouse_zpsonmm1u2k.jpg   HOLY $&@#?!?!

Followed by a bunch of    photo burning church_zps1vary1rr.jpg

Throw in a handful of hilarious  photo pope-francis-75_zpswkb0hpqd.jpg, and the fact that I haven’t seen a  photo bedroom-665811_1280_zpsskt2ofwp.jpg in several weeks, and you’ll begin to understand what my month looked like!

So as you can see, the past month has been a bit of a mixed bag. There’s been all of these fantastic, wonderful things going on, with some truly horrendous bits of news sprinkled through. That’s basically been my life since my wife hit the third trimester of her pregnancy. We probably would have done just fine with all of this, but as I mentioned in my last update my Father-In-Law passed away shortly before the birth of his granddaughter…

My wife and her father were incredibly close, and we were both devastated at the loss. He had been hoping to hold out to meet the baby, and it was a big blow to everybody when we realized that was not going to happen. The whole family came together to keep him company during his final hours, and he got to be the only family member to learn the name of his granddaughter before she was born. He left this world surrounded by kith and kin, secure in the knowledge that he was well loved.

I’ve lost family members before, but never one so close to me. Most of my extended family I’ve never met more than once or twice. Even when we lost my beloved great grandmother, she passed in her sleep at the age of 102. It was sad, but we were all prepared for it. In many ways, the grieving process we were (and still are) going through now is an experience neither my wife nor I were prepared for. Neither of us had ever had to deal with that kind of loss, and it compounded a lot of the stress in our lives because we weren’t sure how to cope with it. My Mother-In-Law has said on a number of occasions that all deaths are sad, but not all of them are tragic. The passing of my 102 year old great grandmother was sad. The passing of my Father-In-Law was tragic.

Many of us turn to tradition when our own life experience falls short, finding answers in the thoughts and actions of those who came before us when our own lives haven’t prepared us for what we need to do. My Father-In-Law is Jewish, so a lot of what The Lore has to say about what lays beyond death’s door didn’t offer much comfort. However, The Lore has a lot more to say on the subject of death then the simple specifics of the various halls of the dead. The ancient Norse had a unique perspective on grief and loss that can be seen through the greater narrative of the  Völuspá.

Throughout the old legends, the world was always depicted as a wild and dangerous place. The forest was always hungry, and the winters were always harsh. Midgard was a hard place, filled with monsters. Despite this, Humanity wasn’t seen as under siege. To the contrary, we were the invaders in a world of terrors; building societies and fighting to inflict order on a chaotic world.

So much of western religious philosophy is centered around answering the Epicurean question of why such ‘bad’ things happen to ‘good’ people. When the ancient Norse encountered a tragic loss (a truly awful thing happening to good people) it wasn’t because the gods took them away, or because they were somehow being ‘punished’. It’s because we battle the forces of the world every day, and not all battles are won. Sometimes the crops freeze, the cattle starve, and the village disappears over the winter. The important part is that WE KEEP FIGHTING. We keep living. We rebuild the village in spring, resow the crops, and sing our songs to the honored dead. We stand on the shoulders of all who passed before us, and we fight on in order to remember the meaning and value of their lives.

So now it’s time to rebuild the village. My wife and I are caring for the home he loved, and working to raise the next generation of the family he devoted his life too. We’ll resow the memories of his life in the songs and tales we tell our daughter, passing along his incredible life story.

And the fight goes on.

**Helena Folmer was born on June 24th, 2015!**

Wyrd Words is published on alternate Thursdays. Subscribe via RSS or e-mail!


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