So often people will tell me that want to grieve in “the right way”. I, then, always ask them what they mean when they say that.
Some refer to “being thorough”, not leaving feelings unexperienced or unexamined. Others will say they want to be able to do whatever will enable them to go forward with no unfinished business. Still other suggest there is a particular trajectory or path to be followed and the steps can be identified and completed.
As some of you have come to know, there is no RIGHT way to grieve, only OUR way!
We find our way best when we quiet ourselves and listen to what our spirit has to say. We need to tell our stories over and over, reminisce and let others bear witness. We do well to recognize there is no timeline to be followed. We allow ourselves to be upheld by those who care for us and then, finally, accept that grieving does not end; but rather, changes. The depth of our sorrow lightens a bit, the ways in which our mourning defines our days lessens, our hearts open again to joy and we come to know that we can once again, embrace life while all the time caring the goodness and gifts of our departed with us.
- Have you grappled with “grieving the right way” or other’s ideas about how you should grieve?
- Have you found yourself thinking there is a timeline for grief and most of the process is done is that 1st year?
- Do you recognize that your sorrow, at times, is no longer the lens through which you view everything? Does it sometimes move toward the side a bit?
Please share your thoughts….
Nourshing the Grieving Heart – Reflections and Paths for Healing is now available in hardback. Click Here for more details and to order online.
Have you heard someone say, “my heart is breaking?” or “my stomach is in knots?” Most likely, we often overlook how close to a truth those statements may be, especially in the context of grief. We are exceptionaly well-wired. As we experience grief, we tend to feel it on every level. There’s a physical, emotional and spiritual response. We hurt in each of those ways.
As a therapist, it’s not uncommon for me to meet with an individual referred by their medical provider. They may have sought assistance in dealing with sleep disturbance or chest pains, stomach distress or headaches. As they talked it over, they often learned these sorts of symptoms can go hand-in-hand with the experience of grief. Counseling may be suggested as well as strictly physical approaches to their distress.
Trust that this is not a sign of hypochondria or psychosomatic disorder. I firmly believe that healing is best facilitated when care is given to the whole person. We are well served by drawing upon as many resources as possible.
Have you experienced a clear physical aspect to your grief?
I wonder how many times you may have heard someone refer to “letting go” as the task or the goal of grieving. Speaking for myself, I hear those words and feel a resistance or want to push back at the notion. Why, how, would I let go of that which I have held dear?
Some might suggest that, in grief, we can’t move forward with our lives until we release the person or situation we have been so closely bonded to. I, on the other hand, believe that we move on and discover healing as we find new ways to carry the influence, the meaning, the spirit or essence of our beloved with us. To create a residence in our heart, in our consciousness that embraces and holds close all that can enrich and inform us.
When I’m confronted with a decision I am eager to call upon the memory and wisdom of those who have gone before me and have been teachers in life. When I feel lonely, I draw close to those things that remind me of the times I’ve been loved. We are deeply enriched when we shift our focus from letting go toward integrating our losses and honoring the continuium of life where past overlaps with present and becomes our foundation for future.
We create new ways of experiencing these relationships allowing memories to be our bridges, we use objects and rituals to keep us “in touch” and we breathe some sigh of relief, recognizing that healing in grief will never ask us to sever a precious bond.
What do you think?