Presence

Presence

I will never leave you.
Hebrews 13:5

The power of presence is by far the most repeated theme in this course (and others). Practically every chapter and article mentions the power that a person's simple presence can have in times of crisis. Presence is something that I talk quite a lot about now that I have a term for it. Not only in my work, but I also show those who attend my groups and go through my programs the power that simply showing up for friends, family, and others we care about can have. 

Most of my free group sessions on Sundays involve me fielding the question of why so many of my client's friends and family disappear during grief. Why is being present so hard? I love answering this question. It's a topic that naturally comes up again and again when I talk about grief and society's natural aversion to being around a grieving person. Being present, not just physically, but mentially and spiritually as well is not something we are taught to do growing up. In fact, most likely we're taught the exact opposite through our experiences with loss, directly and indirectly. As a result, we learn to keep everything in, bottle it up, push it down, replace our losses, be "strong", etc.

More often than not, my Sunday groups are sometimes the very first time my clients have been able to express how they're really feeling without fear of ridicule or dismissal. It's the first time that they can authentically and emotionally tell their story, connect with others, and feel validated in their grief. Once they've done this, we've established a foundational layer of trust from which everything else is built. So many of them have expressed their gratitude for this basic fact: That I show up every week and hold this space and presence for them. "Spiritual care is not about doing something; it's much more about being, and at that moment it is about being there where the awfulness is happening" (1, 227). Not necessarily doing spiritual care, not bereavement counseling, not giving advice or hope, but simply presence.

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