Opening to the hauntings of grief and mourning: writing our way towards hope

Linda Henderson, Alison L. Black

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    We are two women academics and friends. Grief opened the pathways for our coming together and has manifested in our lives and our work in many forms. We have become kindred souls seeking something more than the darkness of grief-and yet, we have come to understand that sorrow is the entrance to healing and a pathway to hope. Together, we are writing with, and through, the darkness-the losses we feel. Our writing is not easy. It aggravates the wounding, opens afresh life’s scar tissue and drops us into our almost unbearable sorrows (Henderson & Black, 2018). But with our writing together we are activating connection, a witness consciousness (Walsh & Bai, 2014), and a “wit(h)nessing” (Snowber & Bickel, 2014) of shared and individual pain. Grounding our writing in our experiences of sorrow, stories we have privately given to each other “under a promise” to protect, we now share more widely in order to “speak to the human dignity, the suffering, the hopes, the dreams, the lives gained, and the lives lost” (Denzin, 2017). We are recognizing that the hope we seek is desperately needed not only by us, but by many in our educational, social and personal communities. With this chapter we choose to make visible and public our intimate navigation of personal, environmental and institutional grief, our “methodology of the heart” (Pelias, 2010), believing that “grief is but a gate” to (re)storying and restoration (Abram, 2010).

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationHumanizing Grief in Higher Education
    Subtitle of host publicationNarratives of Allyship and Hope
    EditorsNicole Sieben, Stephanie Anne Shelton
    Place of PublicationNew York NY USA
    Number of pages11
    ISBN (Electronic)9780429326493
    ISBN (Print)9780367345488, 9780367750794
    Publication statusPublished - 2021

    Publication series

    NameRoutledge Research in Higher Education

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