January 6

01/06/13: Witnesses to Grief | 5 of Cups



This version of the Five of Cups speaks to me not only to the sufferer, but even more to the witnesses. In life, we’re more often witnesses than sufferers usually.

One thing about sadness—it’s a lonely business, by and large. Few people have the fortitude to stand by, stay fully present and allow you to be in whatever grief and pain you’ve got. Most want to point out those cups still standing behind you, without acknowledging the very real loss of the cups that have spilled, you know?

If you find someone who can stay beside you in that difficult moment gracefully, hold on to that person! Value and treasure such a friend; that’s a rare gem indeed.

If someone around you is hurting, your job is NOT to make it stop. Not only is that impossible, it’s not truly your right to do so. Your job is rather to be a witness. Your job is to feel just a little of that pain—if you have the capacity yourself, that is–thus lightening the weight. Your job is to listen and support and let the pain be spent.

It doesn’t need to be forever.

In fact, if a griever chooses to linger and wallow in hopelessness, you’ve got my full blessing for moving on. But that’s talking beyond a reasonable time, straying into the territory of stagnation and eventually, pathology. Just don’t try to rip the memories and thoughts away before there is a chance to integrate and heal. It’s the difference between slapping a Band-Aid on a gushing wound and calling it “all better” versus allowing the bleeding to stop before dressing the wound, you know?

What I’m saying here is that if somebody has a loss, and they feel bad, let them! Let them cry! Let them rant! Let them hurt! Don’t say stupid shit like, “You still have so much.”

Yeah, even when the stupid shit is true.

Because the stupid shit people say is not to make the person HURTING feel better. It’s to make themselves feel better, by slathering on a sugary platitude Band-Aid on top.

That’s all. Just be kind to anybody you see hurting. Don’t let ‘em pull you under, for sure, but let them grieve if they need to. And if it’s you hurting? Do the same. And look for the people who can stand by—all the while staying aware, there IS a cost to them as well for doing so. Don’t inflate the cost by staying mired as a way of life.

What’s your philosophy surrounding grief?

Tarot of the New Vision (English/Spanish)
by Lo Scarabeo

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Five of Cups, New Vision Tarot

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