Lessons and knowledge

WEIO Board Member Marjorie Tahbone tends the seal oil lamp. photo by Greg Lincoln

by Greg Lincoln

What can we learn from grief? It is ever-present, shrouded underneath that outer shell. That shell is sometimes as thick as armor during the day but when we are alone, off it comes like a sheep being sheared of its fleece, or like anything that molts its skin.
When that armor comes off we are unprotected and may need to put that armor back on sooner than we are ready.
Grief teaches us knowledge. It makes us more sensitive to the thoughts and feelings of others, especially to those who are suffering from the sadness associated with loss. Loss, both far in the past and recent and everywhere in between. For who can forget their grief from losing someone they love? No one.
Neither time, nor circumstances, nor anything imagined can ever make us forget. Grief does not teach us to stop loving. It is what grief is founded upon.
Sometimes in our human weakness the unbelievability of the whole situation makes us return to the age-old question of why, why, why? A life so beautiful.
Grief also teaches us resilience.
This past week we traveled to the interior city of Fairbanks for the World Eskimo Indian Olympics. It is an annual thing for us to do as we have always enjoyed competing and participating in the events that we are able to do.
We love the nice slow pace of Fairbanks and folks are friendly. And WEIO is like a reunion – we get to see our relatives and friends that we haven’t seen for a while. It is a trip that we prepare for in advance.
We did, however, almost forget how hot it can be. And the sun lasts late into the night.
This trip was bittersweet. We saw our Interior region loved ones and relatives and we also remembered all the previous WEIOs that we attended when we in our family were all together. Our daughter loved WEIO. She enjoyed the games and pageantry, the chance to skateboard on the pavement, and to see her friends from school and to catch up on what they’ve been up to. She also made new friends and we saw some of them here. Her kind thoughtful nature suits the atmosphere that we find at WEIO, and that is soothing.
She was our encourager. So this year we decided to step out of our comfort zones and do the impossible. She liked that, we are sure!
We thank all the people for their kind condolences and hugs. The need for comfort is still there, as it will always be because it is a difficult matter. Let us all dish out that extra portion of kindness to all those sensitive hearts, we are all capable of doing that for others. Prayers.