There were many ways of breaking a heart…but what really broke a heart was taking away its dream – whatever that dream may be.    ~Pearl S. Buck

With apologies to Sameet Kumar, author of the book, Grieving Mindfully, I am reminded that all  those affected by  Hurricane Harvey devastation in Texas, now spreading to Louisiana, are not only grieving deaths of loved ones; they also grieve myriad losses, possessions,  displacement, emotional losses including loss of dreams.

The emotional and spiritual battles are fought in the body, on a cellular level. For some, grief held in will cause more pain, misery and death. Others who are able to let go, will emerge stronger.  This grief grows and  lives alongside the rebuilding of a new reality in the rawness of this wound, caused by so much water in such a short time; water which had the power to cut the Grand Canyon and most recently cut into the lives so many people, and all creatures including pets.

Kumar’s book, Grieving Mindfully, was given to me by a friend, who rescued her beloved dog, Sage, a pet displaced as a result of Hurricane Katrina. This catastrophe reminds me of the Big Thompson flood in our area in Colorado, while I was beginning my Family Medicine internship in Houston. I remember the shock and horror, the length of time it took to rebuild and I still see some of the scars that persist today when I drive to Estes Park. It also reminds me of our Fort Collins flood in 1997 and the associated losses.

Grieving mindfully and acting with kindness toward our neighbors at hand and in those water ravaged states will help all of us in this long period of reconstruction ahead.