Grief looks and feels different for everyone. After we lost Macca and Vera, I was frustrated with the limited advice on the grieving process. So many choose to describe it as something to “get through” and “manage.” I believe your grief is something you work with and experience. What does this mean?
- Acknowledge – first step: accept that you are grieving. Do not try to fight/hide/disguise your pain; accept it for what it is: your body’s way of working with a profound loss of some type. Welcome the grief into your life like an old friend. It sounds strange, but pain comes from resistance. Accept your grief as a part of you until you heal and no longer need it.
- No timeline – Have you ever encountered someone who started a new relationship after their spouse or partner passed away? Or a person who adopted again when they just lost a beloved pet? If so, I bet the thought “it’s too soon” ran through your mind. Don’t worry: I have had the same reaction. But the truth is, there is no such thing as “too long” or “not long enough” when grieving. It may take you five months, five weeks, five years, or more. I still grieve over Macca and Vera, every day. The point is, you know what is best for you. Do not let others control your healing.
- What you feel is right – no matter what that may be. Shame, guilt, regret, sadness, relief, hopelessness. It does not matter what the emotion is: if you are feeling it, it is okay and normal. There is no “right” and “wrong” way to feel when grieving; anyone who tells you otherwise should not be someone you surround yourself with.
- Journal – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: rage, my friends, RAGE! Getting all that emotion out onto the page helps you release your emotions and begin the healing process.
Grief is a facet of life that we will all work with at some point. If we acknowledge it, take the time we need with it and realize that whatever we’re feeling is normal, we help our bodies heal.