Once upon a time.
Once there was…
Once and for all…
Interesting word, once. When it is placed first in a sentence, what usually seems to follow is a story. Once can mean that something has happened or that something used to be. It reflects on the past. It reminds one that something has changed or is different. And, it implies that one is no longer in that same place.
At the heart of grief work is the telling of our stories. This is easily recognized and present in counseling sessions and support groups. But it is more present in everyday conversations—across the dinner table; over the phone; in the supermarket aisle; while in the car; or while walking with another; It is also present in other ways, sometimes private, like journaling, expressions in art, poetry and music, even in prayer.
Stories help us remember. It is how we keep connected with those people, things and events that continue to be important, loved and valued. Stories define us, and it is how we come to discover meaning in our experiences. Stories help to organize events as they unfolded, placing them in sequence. They can help create a sort of internal order, which can be calming and can restore a sense of control or restore a sense of trust in the order of things.
Stories also take on meaning when heard by another person. Often, when another hears our story, they recognize themselves and their experience in our words. When others learn from our experience, it gives meaning and purpose to our loss. It makes it stand for something. We then understand we are not alone, and we very often gain perspective, becoming aware of new insights and meaning. We too, learn from these stories and the wisdom from them guide us in the future.
Lastly, stories place us in context by rooting us in history. They remind us that life is one large, epic saga of which we are part. Our stories began long before we were in them. They reassure us with certain knowledge that this saga will continue to unfold—that our story will continue.
Over the past several months we have been engaged with StoryCorps®, a national oral history organization. The mission of StoryCorps® is to preserve stories, of all kinds and from all walks of life, to build connection and create a more compassionate world. Quite simply, they are collecting the wisdom from these stories so they can be passed on, generation to generation. Stories are uploaded to the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution where they remain archived and accessible to everyone.
Since beginning in a sound booth in New York’s Grand Central Station, StoryCorps® has given over a quarter of a million people the opportunity to share their stories. Road to Resilience is their latest initiative and Hosparus Health is privileged to have been one of only ten organizations nationally to participate in this endeavor. Road to Resilience collects stories of loss (due to death) experienced in childhood. It is an opportunity to tell your tale—to acknowledge and affirm your experience, and to pass it along so others might benefit from your wisdom. In this way it gives meaning to your loss.
To tell your story, contact us at 502-456-5451.
“Tell your tale, because it reinforces the idea that the loss mattered.”