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  • Anna-Zoë D Herr

Loss is Gain : Broadview Interview

four paneled painting with father holding girl and teaching her to fly a kite, acrylic

'My Father and I' is a painting dedicated to the journey into womanhood, with my father as the launchpad, the guide and warm instructor. It was my reflection on how I may see him in how I hold and cherish my life, which he shaped through his tender and deep example and parenting. 'My Father and I' Acrylic on paper. Hangs in Fern Lodge, California, USA

In 2018 my father, mentor, guide, best friend and spiritual teacher passed away. It threw me, as it does with so many families that confront loss,into a whirlwind of heartache that revealed itself to be so much more than the loss of a father. Grief is a tunnel that you come out of changed, transformed and when ready to surrender the past, fortified and with new roots. In many letters I wrote to my father after--as a close friend said-- "graduated," I write the following:

"You are part of the sea now, and I am still a bucket on the beach, full of sea water, knowing that this is not all of it, that I also came from this vast ocean, that I belong and return to the vast ocean and that my little bucket existence can only last so long. But your big, wide sea experience, your vast knowing trickles down to me in moments of quietness, when I really let the pain stay and listen attentively."

I remember writing these words, 2021: it was Spring, at the farm home of a friend, surrounded by wafting fields. One magical signpost that takes one through the healing journey of grief, are the insights, wonders and synchronicities that appear. In some unexplainable way, words would come that would soothe me from beyond myself. Grief does that, or maybe the desire to understand, does that. Openness does that. Like all impossible challenges in life, grief turns out to be really well disguised opportunities for transformation.

I am currently gathering (for later publication) a longer article on loss, grief and the heartbreaking work of carving out an identity beyond loss, beyond pain; an identity that is wide and deep within the colorful richness of Life itself. It was such a journey for me, and I also know that many resources and much spiritual grasping was part of it. I wanted to share a talk that my mother and I were invited to give on meeting grief spiritually, as my parents have taught me to with all things life's bends reveal. In case you are finding yourself in the mounting waves of loss, tossed around and close to drowning, I hope you can find some comfort in the recording and the ideas shared.

Here is the introductory email sent by the organizer Broadview:

"Our topic will be "Loss is Gain?!?!", a quote from a poem by our Leader Mary Baker Eddy, as well as a familiar hymn that celebrates the spiritual growth that can accompany painful circumstances.1 We all understand the concept. But when we're freshly grieving a departed loved one, a lost job, a pet, or whatever, we may not respond positively when friends insist, "Really, this is a win!"

Our guests for this conversation will be Annette Kreutziger-Herr, a Journal-listed Christian Science practitioner, and her daughter, Anna-Zoë Herr. Anna-Zoë, a specialist in public engagement for a European natural history museum, recently wrote this Sentinel articleabout loss and grief. Both will be joining us from Berlin, Germany."

And the video:


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