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To those preparing for Camino who have suffered loss

David

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2005
I am not certain how to write this ... please forgive me - text is so bald sometimes .. but ... well ... I have been deeply moved reading some forum posts recently. It all started when Trish, from New Zealand (hi Trish) wrote so openly and honestly about her partner abandoning her with her children and that now, after a year of grief, she was picking herself up and planning to go on Camino, regardless of the people who might think she was crazy. The supportive responses included others who opened their hearts with their own personal traumas and losses, and I realised that these statements are peppered throughout the forum archive - and I thought - such bravery, such courage, such strong people, such honest people - knowing that they most likely thought the opposite about themselves .. but that is not so.

Many pilgrims are hearty, like a long walk, and many other pilgrims live in this world at a surface level where food and comforts and so on are their only priorities - but here, on this forum, and out there each year on the Camino are individuals who have suffered deeply in one way or another - to me, well, they are called to pilgrimage .. and they have responded - there is healing here - and they are such brave people, with vulnerable and open hearts, willing to accept their emotional pain and to rise and search for their real selves. In that sense theirs is a truly spiritual pilgrimage. I honour you all.

That wonderful Jesuit priest and teacher, Anthony de Mello, wrote
"Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don't know it, are asleep. They're born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. You know, all mystics -Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion -- are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep."

To me it is certain that those with their broken hearts or dreams those who have been broken open, who then pick themselves up, brush themselves down, without hatred or bitterness, and respond to the call to Camino have the greatest opportunity of us all to break through, through tears to find joy, to realise that indeed, All is Well.

So thank you, you who have opened your hearts and been so honest, it has affected me deeply.

Here is a Camino song (by Enya) for you - sound up loud now!

All is Well. You will not walk alone, though it may at first feel like this is so. May you walk as if the Good God were holding your hand ... all is well - buen Camino!

 
Last edited:
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
Rent a house in Santiago (1 month minimum)
300m from the cathedral and around the corner from the fresh food market in Santiago. Perfect place to tele commute from (1GB symmetrical connection).

jirit

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances 2007,
Via Francigena Italy, 2008,
Jakobsweg Austria 2010,
Camino Frances 2011,
Le Puy to Lourdes 2012,
Via de la Plata 2013,
Future:
Ökumenischer (Via Regia), Germany,
Lycian Way, Turkey
Thank you David for sharing this.

Very moving
 

freescot

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
La Plata (2010) Portuguese from Coimbra(2010) Levante (2011) La Lana (2013) Francés from Roncevalles to Molinasaca then the Camino de Invierno (2014)
Thank you for this powerful post. I join with you in my thanks and admiration for all that people share here and on the camino.
 
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lynnejohn

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Frances(2005), VDLP(2007), Madrid(2009), Ingles(2009), Sur (2011), VDLP(2011)-partial, VDLP(2014)
Eloquently and movingly put, David. Thank you. I join with others to thank forum pilgrims who share their stories with us. Funny and serious, sad and joyful - they are all meaningful and often inspiring. For those who are struggling, I wish you peace. And a buen camino.
 

Trish MacGregor

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
First timer
I am not certain how to write this ... please forgive me - text is so bald sometimes .. but ... well ... I have been deeply moved reading some forum posts recently. It all started when Trish, from New Zealand (hi Trish) wrote so openly and honestly about her partner abandoning her with her children and that now, after a year of grief, she was picking herself up and planning to go on Camino, regardless of the people who might think she was crazy. The supportive responses included others who opened their hearts with their own personal traumas and losses, and I realised that these statements are peppered throughout the forum archive - and I thought - such bravery, such courage, such strong people, such honest people - knowing that they most likely thought the opposite about themselves .. but that is not so.

Many pilgrims are hearty, like a long walk, and many other pilgrims live in this world at a surface level where food and comforts and so on are their only priorities - but here, on this forum, and out there each year on the Camino are individuals who have suffered deeply in one way or another - to me, well, they are called to pilgrimage .. and they have responded - there is healing here - and they are such brave people, with vulnerable and open hearts, willing to accept their emotional pain and to rise and search for their real selves. In that sense theirs is a truly spiritual pilgrimage. I honour you all.

That wonderful Jesuit priest and teacher, Anthony de Mello, wrote
"Spirituality means waking up. Most people, even though they don't know it, are asleep. They're born asleep, they live asleep, they marry in their sleep, they breed children in their sleep, they die in their sleep without ever waking up. They never understand the loveliness and the beauty of this thing that we call human existence. You know, all mystics -Catholic, Christian, non-Christian, no matter what their theology, no matter what their religion -- are unanimous on one thing: that all is well, all is well. Though everything is a mess, all is well. Strange paradox, to be sure. But, tragically, most people never get to see that all is well because they are asleep."

To me it is certain that those with their broken hearts or dreams those who have been broken open, who then pick themselves up, brush themselves down, without hatred or bitterness, and respond to the call to Camino have the greatest opportunity of us all to break through, through tears to find joy, to realise that indeed, All is Well.

So thank you, you who have opened your hearts and been so honest, it has affected me deeply.

Here is a Camino song (by Enya) for you - sound up loud now!

All is Well. You will not walk alone, though it may at first feel like this is so. May you walk as if the Good God were holding your hand ... all is well - buen Camino!

Hi David. Trish here. What lovely wonderful things you have written. There have been times this year when I've been completely overwhelmed with grief and despair and dealing with my separation has consumed me. But when I read things like this I realise that at some stage all will be well and I will be okay. And I will be healed. It'll take time of course but I will get there. I've extremely grateful for wonderful kids, friends and work colleagues who have helped me so much this last year, and now I'm thankful for joining this forum and getting wonderful support from people like you. Cheers, Trish. xx
 

Icacos

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2013)
David, thank you very much for your post. This really needed to be said and you said it beautifully, and with great compassion. I was going to touch on something remotely connected along these lines on another thread … was actually struggling 'to put the words on paper’ … when the powers that be locked the thread. I hope you don’t mind if I tack on a few thoughts here. …. And yes, I am struggling for words.

I don’t know what pilgrims were like in the past, as this year marked my first Camino, but I refer to the comments in the forum that pilgrims now are not like they used to be – that they are not as kind, they are unfriendly, and even rude.

Yes, it is a sad fact that there appear to be people out there that fit this description. What I would like to ask is that, before we label these people such, we spare a thought to what might have brought them to the Camino, what problems they left behind, what problems follow them on the Camino and, perhaps more importantly, what problems they know will be awaiting them upon their return home. Let’s make some allowances for what might be less than ideal behaviour, pilgrim or otherwise, and accept that everyone is on a journey to becoming a better person. Let’s pray for these people, excuse their shortcomings and foibles, and wish them well on their way.

Sorry, I know I haven’t said this very well, but I know I will regret NOT saying it.

Bless you David, for your thoughtful and sympathetic OP, and bless all the other posters for responding empathetically to it.

Yes …. All is well :)
 
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Past OR future Camino
2012
David, thank you, beautifully put. These glimpses of open hearts laid bare on this forum remind us all that squabbles over bicyclists, back-packs, blankets and bed bugs are not what the camino nor this forum are really about. A reminder that many undertake the camino for profound reasons, in search of solace or resolution or (re-)discovery of the human spirit. And thanks to all those that share...
 

mazgirl

Acitve Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Norte (May June 2014)
Camino Ingles (May June 2014)
Camino del Norte - Ribadeo to Santiago ( September 2015)
This is my first time on the forum, like Trish I was also left only my own and went thought a very sad & lonely time then last year I read about a lady walking the Camino Del Norte and decided this is what I wanted to do, SO next May I am going to walk the Camino Del Norte with my friend, this is way out side my comfort zone but I have decided that the rest of my life will be "no regrets just do it"
I am excited but realize it is a big undertaking, thanks to everyone who write on the forum, it is a great help with lots of information for us newbies
 

wawpdx

Active Member
I was not dealing with a loss on the scale that we are talking about here but I think I have something helpful to share. The most meaningful book that I read (and loved both before and after I walked) was Fumbling by Kerry Egan. When I started walking, I yearned for the experience of caring and comfort that KE experienced when the elderly ladies moved to sit with her in church. Because I had that image in my mind, I would have instantly recognized this expression of community and support.

What I learned, only in retrospect, is that a Camino overture of caring may take many forms. Don't be too quick to say "I'm fine" to that pilgrim who intentionally asks "How's it going?" when you are sitting on the albergue bench taking off your boots. Don't be taken aback by that person, that you think you have never seen before, who asks about your feet as he/she is passing you on a rocky hillside.

I know that the line between intrusiveness and caring was a little blurry in my eyes or these two specific situations would not linger in my mind. Because I am more the introverted, "just do it, you don't have to know everything" kind of person who was comfortable going alone even though I had barely heard of the Camino when I started preparing, I was not asking for support. Not asking for support, I did not recognize support.

But, as David said in the first post, you will not walk alone.
 
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Silvester

Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino del Salvador (2014)
Camino Primitivo (2014)
Camino Muxia (2014)
Camino Fisterra (2014)
Good opening post David.
For what it's worth: I'm thinking that grief is also a journey on which you find that in the midst of your own private pain something attunes complete strangers to share theirs and the gift seems to be to be able to listen and bear witness with them. The strange thing too about the halting words you use to respond is that the words others find most healing are ones you can no longer remember saying. Grief is also exhausting in every which way, and you really need to spend time alone with God to process it. I've come to realise too that although I am eagerly anticipating my actual camino and whatever challenges or serendipity await, I can apply some principles right now like approaching each day with an open heart, going for a quiet training walk each day and listening to God and living my best today without fretting too much about yesterday or tomorrow.
Onwards wounded healers - one step at a time.
 
Past OR future Camino
CF 2006,08,09,11,12(2),13(2),14,16(2),18(2) Aragones 11,12,VDLP 11,13,Lourdes 12,Malaga 16,Port 06
Thank you so much, David.
It has been a very difficult year for me, from beginning to end.
I lost my sister-in-law, Methodist Pilgrim, my Uncle Ralph, my cousin Richard, and a 34 year old friend who died in her sleep on Christmas Eve.
I can only hope 2014 is better…
Annie
 

Sue Angles

A favourite sight along 'the Way' ...
Past OR future Camino
september 2013
Thank you so much, David.
It has been a very difficult year for me, from beginning to end.
I lost my sister-in-law, Methodist Pilgrim, my Uncle Ralph, my cousin Richard, and a 34 year old friend who died in her sleep on Christmas Eve.
I can only hope 2014 is better…
Annie
Oh My God Annie - it certainly has been a sad year for you. I truly hope 2014 is a happy healthy and fun year for you and yours ....
 

Sue Angles

A favourite sight along 'the Way' ...
Past OR future Camino
september 2013
David and all forum pilgrims - it is beautiful to read these heart warming messages. Tony and I did the Camino Sept/Oct last year and I think only people who have done this amazing journey can understand the love, care and genuine support you get from fellow pilgrims. Being a pilgrim is a leveller - no-one is any better than another - we're all brothers and sisters together and I LOVE THAT!!!!!!!
Also sharing stories is the best, be they happy or sad - all are inspiring..... it means a lot for people to be able to share
Soos
 

t2andreo

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
2022
David:

WOW! That was powerful, cogent, and soul-inspiring. Thank you!

It is frequently said, and we have all heard or stated ourselves, that: "The Camino Provides..." What many people forget is the corollary to that truism. Your posting and the song emphasizes the flip-side of that proverbial coin: "The Camino Heals..."

Like Annie, I too suffered several personal losses this year. Many of us did. That is the way of life...:(

Last year, I walked my first Camino, in part, for all those who wanted to, but through age, infirmity, or disability, were not able to. I had quite a load of stones and prayers to accommodate at Cruz de Ferro. My rucksack weight was much improved afterwards...;)

In 2014, I will walk the Camino again, for a somewhat different group of family, friends, former colleagues, and others who have either passed from this life during 2013, or who have asked to be remembered and prayed for. I suppose I will have the stones again. However, that is a small price to pay to accept in some small manner the vicissitudes, limitations, and sufferings of others.:)

David, a sincere and heartfelt thank you again. Well done! Your post should be part of a Forum 101 primer for all newcomers - I am only half-joking. You captured the entire essence of the Camino.

BTW - I just bought Enya's Greatest Hits from iTunes. I must add that song to my Camino Mix on my iPod. For better or for worse, the song is ONLY available on the album. No bother...

Happy New Year to all!
 
Peaceable Projects Inc.
Peaceable Projects Inc. is a U.S.-based non-profit group that brings the vast resources of the wide world together with the ongoing needs of the people who live, work, and travel on the Camino de Santiago pilgrim trail network in Spain.
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StuartM

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances (2012)
I walked the Frances after a loss (personal rather than death), the healing it brought was amazing and it gave me the strength to get through the highly destructive 12 months to follow. In fact, I made one friend that I probably spent less than 2 hours talking to who has become one of the closest (platonic) friends I've ever had. It's not going to be for everyone and the long periods of solitude could become rather negative I imagine but for me, talking to people, encountering others in the same boat as you, encountering people who were just genuinely nice, people who accept you regardless of your "sins"... it's been one of the defining moments of my life. I've done a lot of stuff and been a lot of places but the time I spent drifting across the north of Spain will live with me forever.

Just go. If it doesn't work then you've spent four weeks in a beautiful place, if it does work then your life will be different in so many ways.
 

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