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Conversation on Communal Grieving

Thank you to all who have participated in our ongoing Conversation on Communal Grieving. Since November we have hosted two events—one virtual and one in-person—and collected perspectives through this survey, which is still available. These contributions are helping us understand our role. A vast range of possibilities is emerging.

 

"The overall health, resilience, and cohesiveness of the community stands to benefit from grieving together."

 

In addition to the statement above, participants in the conversation have used the following words to describe the potential benefits of sharing grief in community:

community building

increased connection

profound compassion for self and others

the antidote to aloneness

reminds you of the people who care about you

support

reinforce the belief that it is ok to grieve openly

healing

a sense of belonging

Feeling heard, seen, witnessed, validated, normalized. Less alone.

 

“In a group practicing grieving together, a more reserved individual may feel empowered to be vulnerable once they have witnessed another's authentic expressions.”

 

More than ever we feel grief's potency. When shared, it can become an enlivening force: deepening our relationship with ourselves, each other, and the more-than-human world.


Across the conversation, we notice a shared desire to “change cultural norms about what grief is and how it’s experienced.” We also acknowledge a variety of needs when it comes to the spaces that hold communal grieving. We hear requests for identity-based affinity groups: for women, men, people reconnecting with European ancestry, people of African descent, and trans people. We carry these requests with tenderness and response-ability.

 

From what we've gathered, two clear areas of action have emerged for WOVEN.

 

First, we’re answering the call for more entry points into communal grieving. In one person’s words, we need “grief offerings to become part of our lifestyle… simple rituals that are accessible and responsive to community events.”  In the coming weeks and months, WOVEN will host grief-oriented gatherings that are responsive to collective losses. We also intend to promote communal grieving opportunities offered by others when they align with the community needs we’ve been hearing. One example is an offering in response to the devastation of last month’s ice storm.



Secondly, we now have a Communal Grieving Fund that enables us to provide scholarships for people to access grief support. The funding came in direct response to a recent and tragic loss experienced by a friend of WOVEN. In alignment with our purpose, the funding will serve those experiencing grief by supporting their wholeness. This includes authentic creative expression and connection with others who can relate to their state of grief. The first recipient’s “Apprenticeship with Grief” is already underway. Stay tuned for more information about the nomination process for upcoming scholarships.

 

Want to contribute your perspective to the Conversation on Communal Grieving? Check out these options.



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