On Tuesday, May 5, Speaking Grief aired on WPSU and other public television stations across the country. The aim of the documentary is to “create a more grief-aware society by validating the experience of grievers and helping to guide those who wish to support them.”

It seems an opportune time to reach out, to speak into the collective loss we are experiencing. But, like all of the transformational experiences in our lives: marriage, parenting, aging, illness, injury, divorce, and death; grief is at once collective and yet distinctly personal.

And, perhaps it is this ambiguous space, this collective and yet individual space, that makes it so difficult to speak about.

I find this true in my own life. I am a bereaved Mom of our son Mack who died suddenly in 2012, and yet I am often initially rendered mute and feel inadequate to speak to the pain of other bereaved parents. I have learned over the years through the stories of and sharing with other bereaved parents to face these fears and offer ourselves, as humbling and meager as it feels.

Speaking Grief is important because it shares these stories of transformation. I see stories as ornate stanchion poles that light up a bridge into the night. They help to illuminate the path for us, but we must still cross the bridge ourselves. The gift in the journey are the people who are willing to walk alongside us as we find our way.

Elizabeth Brady

Elizabeth's son Mack died suddenly on New Year's Eve 2012. Elizabeth teaches at Penn State and her essays on learning to live with loss can also be read on The Compassionate Friends (TCF), Modern Loss, MackBrady.com. She has participated on the panel "A Flower Picked Too Soon" at several national TCF conferences. Elizabeth served on the content advisory board for the Public Television documentary "Speaking Grief" that seeks to help us all get better at grief. (speakinggrief.org)

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