Grief is a process
Though we may try to find ways around or under or over our problems, the only way to the other side of something big really, is to go through it.
Grief is a natural process. We know grief is expected when we experience a loss, so we shouldn’t really be too surprised when we do feel grief.
Allowing ourselves to experience our grief is the very thing that helps us process the big emotions associated with loss, that helps us adjust to our post-loss lives and that helps us move through the murky depths of grief. Moving through our grief does not mean that we forget the person, animal, thing or situation that we lost, but that we discover ways of being that honour our memories of the person, animal, thing or situation, and we find ways to grow into and from the experience.
Grief can sometimes point the way for greater levels of awareness, meaning and connection, and for us to make changes in our lives as we process, adapt, review and renew.
If we accept that the only way around the grief is through it, the question then becomes one of how we might find enough grace to allow ourselves the journey.
How do we move through our grief?
Firstly, we acknowledge that we are grieving. Yes, I feel sad, lost, devastated, confused, stressed, nothing, lonely, helpless, guilty…whatever it is that you are feeling, name it and acknowledge its presence.
We can then give ourselves permission to feel our feelings, knowing that these are normal reactions to difficult circumstances, knowing that it is right that you should feel something right now, and that whatever you are feeling is okay…even if it seems all-encompassing and uncomfortable, excruciating even. This is to be expected, you have after all, just been visited by loss.
There is a saying that goes something like: the depth of your grief shows the depth of your love. If you have loved, if you have engaged with life, if you have found things you treasure, it is very likely that you have, or will, experience loss of some kind at some stage in your life.
Grief shows you how much you loved, that you were you loved, where you felt attached, where you felt secure, where you felt confident, where you felt safe. And when that person, animal, thing or situation that provided you with love, attachment, comfort, security, confidence, safety, etc. is gone from you, of course you are going to react, of course you are going to feel something, and often that something is difficult to sit with.
Sitting with my own grief has been some of the most difficult yet most profound personal work I have undertaken. It is fertile, liminal space that allows us to open and shows us the majesty that is our own being, our own hearts capacity for love and life, the gentleness of our own soul, and even, in time, our ability to find joy once again.
Grief is a deep process. It is important to remember that we all experience grief differently and all have our own unique style of coping. Sometimes our coping strategies might be helpful – other times they may be not so helpful. Sometimes we adjust to our new, post-loss lives quickly and with relative ease – at other times we feel stuck and unable to move forward.
Help is always at hand. Book a session with Michelle from A Counselled Life.
Whatever our process with grief is, it is our own story to tell. May you find ways to share yours.