We mourn the passing of a legend and for many a hero. Much has been written in the past few days about Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) and how she was a force for change, an advocate for women, a crusader for LGBTQ+, the disabled and many more. Most of us did not know her personally, but we knew her values, we relied on her strength and activism and followed as she took her place as the second woman to sit on the Supreme Court of the United States.
For some, RBG may represent the role of a grandmother, mother, or mentor from afar, through her empowerment of internal strength, tenacity, and personal growth. When someone in these figurative roles dies, we feel the momentary loss of this connection and source of empowerment. It is important to honor this sense of loss, recognize what we valued from this relationship, and then find this support and inspiration in others around us and within ourselves.
Our mourning together as part of the larger societal whole brings a sense of comfort as we grapple with our voice having impact. Our mourning someone we were not personally connected with is disenfranchised grief that is not generally acknowledged by society but in this case as we come together in vigil, we are supported in a community of grievers.
We oscillate between grieving the loss and celebrating the transformative power of this woman’s legacy. The grief we feel has the power to move us toward growth and change. Just as we experience the pain and sadness of loss and the dismantling of our world view, we can grow through her example of perseverance and passion.
Healing can begin when we honor losses such as RBG by living the values she courageously demonstrated, embracing the path she embarked on of advocacy and justice, and engaging in dialogue about the gifts she gave our world. Connecting with others and ourselves about how we are navigating the loss can be a meaningful way of honoring both our journey and RBG’s.
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