Grief and Grieving

The process of grieving is often misunderstood in our culture. I believe this is partly due to the “instant” processes we have created and now expect in our living. We promote fast answers, easy solutions, quick fixes for problems and pain.

I understand the benefits that can come from certain functions being swift; however, there are areas in life that need to be engaged deliberately and purposefully, grieving is in that category.

Here are a few thoughts that I share with my clients who are experiencing grief. The italicized quotes are from Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s book, On Grief and Grieving:

  1. There is not one correct way to experience grief. Each person processes grief differently. Do not be driven by society’s expectations regarding what emotions a person should have, or how that emotion is expressed.                                                                                                                                     “Your loss is deep and deserves your personal attention without comparison. You are the only who can survey the magnitude of your loss.”
  2. It is ok to laugh. Laughing does not dishonor your loved one; it is an additional way to honor them. It is so important to have the freedom to laugh when you feel joy and cry when you feel sadness. Memories will bring both; neither should bring guilt.                                                       “Whenever we ask people to be different than they are or to feel different than they do, we are not accepting them as they are and where they are”.
  3. Healing from grief is gradual; it is a process not an event. It is not unusual to feel as though you are finished grieving and then experience an unexpected wave of grief again. It does not mean you are weak, or have failed, it is normal. What I have observed and personally experienced is that the waves come less frequently and with less power as time passes.                                                                                                                                  “Your task in mourning is to pay the respect and time it deserves; this brings integrity to the deep loss that is yours.”

I say these things with the caveat that if your grief experience is debilitating your life by causing depression, anxiety, or delusions, please seek help.

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