Giving Yourself Permission To Grieve

Giving Yourself Permission To Grieve

We all experience grief in many forms. The loss of a job, relationship, house, loved one, pet, and even the loss of our youth. If we pause for a moment and reflect on the losses in our life, we may discover that they happen almost daily. My earliest memory of loss was when the family dog passed away. She died rather unexpectedly. Reflecting back, I recall the sound of my brother wailing in the hallway. That was the first time I was aware of the sound of grief. My brother was expressing the inner ache that he felt.

The first time i felt grief inside my body was at the age of thirteen. It felt as though my stomach had swallowed my heart in one gigantic gulp. This natural feeling of grief was triggered by the loss of my grandpa. He was an honorable man and I intuitively knew, as most of us do, that life would never be the same. When a loss occurs in our life, it’s often abrupt. It is almost impossible to imagine what life will be like without something until it is gone. That is the difficulty of loss, it can’t be processed with the mind alone; it demands to be felt with the heart.

With all of these great losses occurring almost daily, how do we stay a float? Grief isn’t exactly trendy. However it is natural and necessary. I have attended many grief groups and I believe there are two common themes

      1. We all grieve. It is one of the most common experiences that connect us as humans.
      2. Each of us grieve in our own unique way. Giving ourselves permission to grieve is one of the biggest gifts we can offer ourselves.

As we navigate through the losses of life, it is important to remember we are not alone. Where there is life, there is loss. Letting grief move through us unchoreographed is key.

Here are some tips I recommend when grief arises:

    • Feel your grief. This may manifest through tears, screaming into a pillow, or silence.
    • Attend a local grief support group. Healing happens in these rooms, I am living proof.
    • Talk about your grief with someone you love and trust. There is powerful release when we share our feelings out loud.
    • Take care of yourself. You may not feel like resuming the activities you did before the loss and that is perfectly okay. Take time to listen to your body, it will guide you through the process.
    • Dedicate time everyday to be present with your grief. This could be sitting down for 30 minutes to cry, journal, and feel whatever needs to be released for that day.
    • Don’t rush your healing. Grief has no timeline and it is important to honor the inner healing process.
    • And most importantly, remember there is no right or wrong way to grieve. It is a highly individual process and it looks different for everyone.

These words were once told to me and I would like to pass them on to you:

“Life will never be the same after a loss, but it can be good again.”

Grief is a journey, it demands a lot of us, and it comes in waves. Ride the waves. In the presence of grief, the astonishing capacity of one’s love is uncovered.

Grief Expressed Out Loud

Grief Expressed Out Loud

The writer, Martin Prechtel, has a wonderful quote about grief:

“Grief expressed out loud for someone we have lost, or a country or home we have lost, is in itself the greatest praise we could ever give them. Grief is praise, because it is the natural way love honors what it misses.”

When I think of grief, the image of an arrow piercing through the center of a heart comes to mind. The arrow instantly numbs everything, sending the heart into a state of shock. The reaction may be to pull the arrow out immediately, but it doesn’t budge. The arrow stays in for a period of time and everyone notices. People comment about it and offer condolences to help ease the pain. The heart remains paralyzed.

After some time, the initial shock wears off and the heart begins to soften again. As the heart softens, the arrow loosens. Soon enough, the arrow pulls free from the chest.  Once the arrow is removed, the person has the opportunity to catch their breath, something they haven’t done in weeks, or even months.

No more arrow, no more visible pain. What’s left is a big gaping hole.

This is when the grief work begins.

I recently read a facebook post written by a friend who lost her 10 year old daughter after a long battle with Cystic Fibrosis.  She wrote openly about her feelings and concerns when it comes to talking to others about her daughter. She stated that she doesn’t want to make anyone feel uncomfortable. Most importantly, she wants to convey the large impact her beautiful daughter had on her life.

It is wonderful that my friend was able to express her feelings and grief out loud. This can make a huge impact on people’s lives. The world is hungry for more parents who are willing to speak openly about the loss of a child, including the raw and uncomfortable parts.  She is not alone in her pain. There are many people walking around with gaping holes in their chest. Their grief has not found its voice yet.

One of the biggest and most important legacies that our loved ones leave behind is the grief we feel in our hearts. Grief is praise. We must honor these loved ones by allowing our grief to be expressed out loud. Through this process, a person can find tremendous healing. The gaping hole can be filled again.

We will all grieve and it is imperative that we allow it to be expressed in its many forms. This expression is powerful and creates a ripple effect onto individuals at all stages of their grief.

I once had an arrow pierced through the center of my heart. I also had a gaping hole. Today I unapologetically express my grief and praise for my beautiful loved ones who have gone before me.