I am an expert on grief! For the better part of the past decade I have been studying it and researching it, but more importantly, I have been experiencing it and living it. In fact I have recently launched my new website – www.shawnhennessy.com and a large portion of the site will be dedicated to grief and how to not only cope with it, but how to conquer it. I have had far too many brushes with death – there have been too many times that the reaper has come knocking on my door. I have been in my own hospital bed hooked to life support hanging by a thread, I have buried my little girl, I have lost a career, a reputation, a national following, my dreams, and almost my marriage. I am going to write about all of these experiences and many more throughout the life of this blog and on www.shawnhennessy.com. I know what it means to grieve, and not just academically or philosophically – I have lived this stuff! I have been in the trenches covered with dust and mud and mire and I came out the other side. People deal with loss in a myriad of ways, some of them good and some of them bad, but the key is to actually deal with it. We have to face it and fight it – we can’t just bury our head in the sand and think it will go away – it will not go away on its own!
I have made a discovery about grief – it is about peace. It is a pursuit for peace. A long, winding, often confusing, almost always painful quest for peace. We want to make peace with ourselves and with those that we have lost. At the very least, we want to make peace with the memory of those who have left us behind. For some of us grief is an easier process because we were already at peace with those who went on from this life, but for a large population of others, they are haunted by hurt and regret. Regret over a last conversation or lack thereof, over the long pause in our communication with that person who is now gone, or maybe over unmet expectations of some sort. Hurt by words, or actions, or thoughts. The question that lingers is – how do we reach peace? How do we heal the hurt or restore the regret? It would be an understatement to say that peace is elusive. John F. Kennedy said it well – “Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures.” Coming to peace is arduous work that requires long hours and diligent focus.
I was forwarded a link to a movie trailer today. The movie is called Hereafter and, if you are interested, the link is http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/hereafter/. Hereafter is a movie directed by Clint Eastwood, who is one of my favorite directors (and consequently one of my favorite actors) and stars, among others, Matt Damon. Damon stars as George, a blue-collar American who has a special connection to the afterlife. In a nutshell – he talks to the dead. The movie asks a fundamental question – Can we reach those who have gone? I can’t say with 100% certainty whether or not you can communicate with the dead, although I have my own very strong opinions. One thing I do know beyond a shadow of doubt is that you can communicate with the living. You can make peace now. You can call your father or your son who you haven’t spoken to in years. You can visit your mother or your daughter who you’ve stopped seeing. You can stop hating your ex-wife or ex-husband. You can make peace now. You can fix a relationship, say I’m sorry, I forgive you or I love you. How do you gain what the Apostle Paul spoke of when he said we could gain a peace that surpasses understanding? You pursue it – you become proactive. Don’t wait until it is too late then live your life racked with regret. Sydney J. Harris said; “Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.” How do you overcome grief? That is a deep question that will be delved into in this blog over and over again as well as on www.shawnhennessy.com, but one thing I can tell you is it will help you to plan for peace. Will you make peace today? Will you make the first step? Confucius says; “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” Take the step today. Make the call today. Say the words today – before it’s too late. Remember – It’s never too late to begin again.