Grief and an Otter

Grief is no stranger in my world. I have completed three to four structured and involved grieving processes through the years. Our society is learning to respect and be with grief in healthier ways;   we can all be grateful for this evolution. But despite my previous experiences with grieving I still struggle with the mourning process and I often don’t like the experience.

“What does grief feel like?”, she asked early one morning through e-mail.

The following is my attempt to share my experience followed by her loving response.  Then, a few weeks later an otter came to save me. These experiences demonstrate how we need others and a vibrant and thriving nature to help us through.

I walk around

Constant low-level sadness

My built-in companion and support are gone

Loneliness overtakes me especially in the evenings

Patterns disrupted.

Constriction in my throat

Tears in my eyes



Too much effort to try to stay connected to others at times

Zombie Land


Who cares?

Jealousy of people with seemingly full lives.

What is the point?

Not unlike my childhood

A familiar feeling

Working to accept the grief

Accepting I don’t like it

Death sucks

Let the loneliness be there when it is there

I feel shame about feeling lonely

Question? Does grief really needs to be felt or do I create it with my thoughts as with other things?

Grief seems bigger than me, a process larger than me



So much to do

So much to do is boring

Piles of black and white papers

Jeff’s paperwork for taxes on dining table.

My taxes a forming dream

Try to stay grateful

Deeper breathing

Shallower breathing

Something like that.

 My friend’s reply:

 My instinct is to tell you:

Let go,

Allow the river of grief to take you away.

You are in the arms of the Goddess, embraced.

You will get to the other side, if you just let go,

Not fighting the current.

You are love, sweetness, kindness and warmth.

You are loved.


An Otter Came

She appeared suddenly,

Her wet, smooth, dark fur excited me,

Watching her slip over a boulder,

Springing me fully into life.


She scrambled swiftly down the steep rocks,

Alongside the waterfall we were perched above,

Carrying her treasured small fish,

As she aimed for the fast-moving river of snowmelt.


I hadn’t known these agile little beings

Rode the whitewaters

Until she disappeared in the torrent

Swiftly carrying to her destination.


The little animal’s dramatic arrival

In my life

Ended my sad morning

Suffusing us full both with fresh aliveness.


Other otters have graced my life,

The still one who greeted me back to this county,

The one perplexed by the tall concrete dam

That blocked her way.


Stop killing these delightful creatures,

Polluting and destroying their homes,

They are our soul,

We need them for a life worth living.


One small otter, fish in her mouth,

Came to show me I was still alive.




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