“In avoiding our sadness we avoid our lives. Learning from our sadness can bear great fruit, and avoiding it can have hidden costs. Our choice is in feeling the sharp pains of self-discovery or enduring the dull ache of unconsciousness that will last for the rest of our lives.”
~ Marianne Williamson
Grief is a natural process. It has a rhythm and a purpose. It is “unavoidable” and inevitable for each of us. It will live in our body until we become friends with it, honor it and invite it in. Or, we shut the door on it by our business, addictions, and refusal to let the storm of grief thunder and roll through us.
I have often heard grieving souls express fear. They fear that the pain of grief will ascend on them like a tsunami and swallow them up. This is the fear speaking, not the grief. C.S. Lewis in his famous work, A Grief Observed, stated “ No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” He was grieving the death of his beloved wife.
Losses come in many ways not just death. The loss of a dream, the loss of self, or the loss of a relationship are major change events which bring grief. You name yours.
In order to grieve in a healthy way we must feel. It may sound corny, however we can not heal what we refuse to feel. Call it God, call it Wisdom, call it the Universe – whatever has meaning for you- this Spirit knows how much we can handle. So we come to understand that grief comes in waves. Visualize yourself as a surfer riding the wave, or even crashing and twirling deep in the strong current then… your head pops up and the sun is shining on you. We go down, have that deep cry or feel the rage, and then we come up and rest. It’s messy and it’s medicine.
Here are 4 principals for a griever to know and practice – The four T’s for working through grief,
- Talk – We must talk about our loss. Talk with someone who has empathy and can truly listen and validate what you are feeling.
- Tears – This stands for feeling all of your feelings. Sadness, anger and guilt are the three primary emotions in a grieving process.
- Touch – This stands for support. Receiving a hug, a hand or a shoulder to cry on. Professional support may be needed as well. Approximately 10-20% of grief will become complicated due to previous losses or a difficult relationship for example.
- Time – Time alone does not heal. If you are practicing the first three T’s in time you will shift to the next place in your normal process of grief and it takes as long as it takes. It is different for everyone.
Trust the process and trust that you are made to be able to tolerate difficult feelings. If it feels too overwhelming please seek out a qualified grief counselor to help guide you through. You will grow and be transformed.