Chapter 10

Compassion

Our friend Donnovan is a grief counselor. Toward the end of a grief retreat weekend for bereaved fathers, the topic was self-care and self-compassion. One father described the conundrum he faced. This man had just lost his young child and he was reeling, unable to cope. He came to Donnovan with his own impossible choice: the grief retreat offered the healing and support he desperately needed, yet in choosing to go, he was leaving his devastated wife and surviving child at home, alone and drowning in their own grief and loss. He wanted to know which choice—going to the retreat or staying home with his family—was the compassionate one?

Donnovan’s response was that compassion is not about what one chooses but rather how ...

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