A Social Support System for Mourning People Like Me

This is a really big thing we are doing here.

We are bridging a “taboo” gap between life on Earth and life in Spirit. Most people would not accept that we could do this. But this is real. We are connected.

— Karl, 2 November 2016

My cultural interludes with friends and colleagues convince me that mourning people like me, who cannot depend on culture, tradition, or a faith community, need a social support system. And further: I am the person to work that out. I’m an educated woman who has lived in many different rural and urban communities in Canada, the US, England, South Africa, and Australia.

I have many intelligent and wise friends.

Nevertheless, the sad truth I discover is that none of us knows what to do after Karl’s burial and the memorial. Each of us is grieving for Karl in our own ways: a laity with no education in grief, except, perhaps, for my two Sufi friends, Rose and David.

So we make it up.

Dreaming that we might somehow stay connected to our beloved Karl, we invent our own spiritual support systems, our rituals, and our memorials. We cobble together bits and pieces of different support systems. And, more or less, they work for us.

And it is a lot of challenging work for people who are deeply shocked and profoundly grieving. That experience and my conversations with Karl yield a compassionate and comprehensive model that is effective both for staying connected to a loved one and for healing grief and loss.

Karl and I birthed this book to guide people like me and my grieving friends.