Elder Wisdom

by Greg Lincoln

There are many stages of life. How does grief affect the elderly? We have elders among us and in our families that we love and cherish. How do they deal with bereavement?
When we first experienced our devastating loss I have glimpses of my children’s Ap’a talking to us of happier times, of all the memories we shared, and of the love that he has for our beloved. His way of dealing with this grief was to talk calmly and lovingly, remembering all the joyous and wonderful times that we shared together. He provided comfort.
He loves her so very much, she has a special place in his heart.
There we were, gathered together, sitting with our most closest relatives and friends, surrounded by a throng of love, empathy, and compassion.
Elders have a wisdom that comes from years of living, experience, and from longsuffering. When he spoke, we all listened as we should. We were taught to do that and this simple act of listening helped our sore, tender hearts and minds.
The part that makes us grieve so hard is the pain of missing her. This pain we feel in our chest and stomach – why does it hurt so much even though there is no physical force impacting or hitting our physical bodies? The aching starts from a reminder of what is now lost, a thought, and it grows and spreads to the rest of our body.
This pain is like the tides, ever present, sometimes ebbing, sometimes as strong as a flood, sometimes high, sometimes low, but always there. Constant, endless, relentless, continual, ceaseless. And that is what it is.
When we stub our toe, most of us can stand that without any lasting problems. The pain is temporary, even laughable. But this kind of pain is a million unfathomable times worse.
If you are weak and in pain from the fact that someone you love is now gone, do not try to mask or subdue those feelings with harmful substances. It is better to seek help from your loved ones and to be around them. There is something about being in the company of those who love you that makes the worst feel not so unbearable.
Just because we are going through this crisis, this tragedy, does not mean you can do whatever you want. If we all did that it would not be good, it would be chaos.
I read that grief is the sadness that comes from loving someone so much and that love has nowhere to go. Where can we release this love? To those that she loves and in everything that we do.
Have we told you that we are so fortunate to have you as our friends and confidantes? Yes, but we will say it again and again. Kelly would like you to know that she is very grateful for the Eskimo food gifts of seal meat, dried pike, and herring eggs that you have blessed us with, quyana!
Thank you for being there for us as we continue our bereavement journey. We look forward to the day when we can look back and remember with gladness how you were right there along with our family, urging and encouraging us on. Quyana for your kind messages of hope that we have received. The power of a kind word goes far. Let us remember those who are in mourning, we are all in the same boat.