*This was scheduled to post on July 4th and low and behold, technology did not collaborate with website settings!  So enjoy this now a few weeks later!

It seems freedom is a word and a concept that to some degree, is hanging in the balance. From the January 6th riots, to the recent SCOTUS decision last week, I have to conclude that we don’t exactly agree on what freedom really means. Some of us want to believe that we have free will. And others believe some, but not all should have that. For today, I want to look at freedom, through the lens of grief and loss.

We are all guilty of taking things as granted. We know that once we lose something (our life savings in the housing market crash) or someone (death of a loved one), that thing, and that person become unavailable to us. What was once “normal” is no longer. And all of a sudden we realize what we have lost. Or we are faced with trying to understand.

But one thing we know we lose in the process of letting go of a loved one, is our freedom to kick back and relax. We lose the coveted care-free attitude and even naïveté that we once enjoyed before we knew real pain. We lose the open-heartedness, the giggles, the safety of our in-tact hearts. Our freedom to let our guards down, seems to permanently vanish.

Where we once enjoyed concerts, we find them unsympathetic. Where we once enjoyed the sunrise, we now see the audacity that sun presumes, by coming up again and again. Where we once enjoyed a workout, all our music reminds of something that hurts. Where we once slept with our child, we now sleep alone.

It’s incredibly frightening that as a Nation we can’t seem to agree on what freedom is, and also agree that it is the birthright of every American to enjoy its protections and benefits. We can’t seem to stop trying to control people who are different than we are. So much uncertainty lies ahead.

But I’ll take uncertainty over death, because the second one is forever. When we lose our loved one, we lose our freedom to feel secure, safe and hopeful.

But on the bright side, we don’t have to lament our loss forever, such that it takes away our freedom to continue living. We can participate in all kinds of activities that help us learn to trust the world again. We may even find our Faith can be restored, along with our hope, even after the devastation of death.

But these developments can’t begin to form, until we demand, from ourselves and also the world, the freedom that again, is our birthright. We are free to grieve however we want to. For as long as we need to. We don’t need to apologize, or rationalize, check the calendar to see if we should be done grieving yet. When the freedom to be with our loved ones is taken from us, we are simultaneously granted the freedom to live out our tragedies and losses, however we want.

No one tells us this of course. And it may be one of the best kept secrets that can really help people. Because until our grief is allowed to also be free, and part of our life’s fabric, we have no freedom at all. No peace. No music. No connection. Nowhere to go. Nowhere to hide. Nowhere to feel safe.

So if this resonates, and you haven’t already done so, grant yourself the freedom to grieve in your unique way, privately, creatively, and courageously. This is a great step toward returning to the bigger freedom, which is to be able to exhale without waiting for the other shoe to drop, which is how we often move through the world once we have already been kicked.

A special thank you to our Men and Women in the Armed Forces of the United States of America. We can’t adequately thank you, but being grateful for our freedom, however we define it, is a good place to start.

Enjoy the holiday and be safe!  The blog and weekly newsletter will resume next week!

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