A sudden death, such as suicide, shocks our bodies as the survivors as well as our brains. I remember receiving the call twenty years ago that my beloved brother, Mark had completed suicide. He had listened to a minister Sunday in Grand Island, NE say “If you take medication, you do not believe in Jesus.” Mark stopped doing so. His behavior changed so drastically that my parents begged him Monday night to get the prescription refilled. Mark’s note Tuesday night clearly communicated his exhaustion from his paranoid schizophrenia.

Some part of me knew that Mark would not grow old with me. As I felt the exhaustion of my sadness in the vortex of grief, a steady voice within me repeatedly said, “You can’t stop a tornado.” I wish that Mark would have continued taking his medication and not kissed the barrel of a shotgun goodnight.

I am reminded of the scene in the movie “Patch Adams” where the butterfly landed on the doctor’s medical bag. In that scene as he stood on a cliff ready to jump, the butterfly called him back from the fragility of life and reminded him of its the strength to migrate thousands of miles. I wish that Robin Williams could have seen a butterfly on Sunday night, August 10,2014.

I wonder what part the invasive trauma of his 2009 heart surgery played in this tragedy. In an interview with Ellen he used words and gestures to show being physically split wide open and how that miracle of medicine had affected his emotions. I sensed his fragility, vulnerability, and authenticity.

As a Trauma Specialist I use gentle Listening Touch to create trust with my grieving clients, supporting them to tell their story. By working not only with the emotions, but also with where the trauma is held in the body, the trauma is then recognized and released. Old patterns are replaced and new beliefs and behaviors are re-wired at the cellular level.

Let us begin to embrace Intelligent Grief, that way of being with our deepest feelings as they shift and surface. It is listening to our body to discover where the grief resides and learning from its messages. Intelligent Grief supports us to discover who we will be as we re-invent ourselves. Will you join me?


If you’re struggling with the emotional process of grief...

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