“The most beautiful people we have known
are those who have known defeat,
known suffering, known struggle, known loss,
and have found their way out of the depths.
These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity,
and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion,
gentleness, and a deep loving concern.
Beautiful people do not just happen.”
~ Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
In honor of so many who are grieving loss right now, I share this in hopes it will cast light on your path.
No one may fully understand your loss, your fears, your loneliness or concerns connected to what you are grieving, yet your grief is real and not to be minimized by yourself or others.
Those who had to suppress loss in childhood in order to be strong for others, find themselves 50, 60 and 70 years later suddenly needing to face the pain and cry the tears. It’s a process that must take place and the sooner we allow ourselves to feel, really feel and assimilate what has happened, the sooner the heaviness of the grief will transmute into something new.
“Each grief has its own imprint,
as distinctive and as unique as the person we lost.
The pain of loss is so intense, so heartbreaking,
because in loving we deeply connect with another human being,
and grief is the reflection of
the connection that has been lost.”
Elizabeth Kubler Ross first wrote about the five stages of grieving and I have found it to be very true for myself and working with others. This is a brief overview of what I have seen people experience, with suggestions on how to work through each stage.
When the pain is too difficult to accept or understand we often become numb, comatose or desensitized to survive it. Denial is that buffer zone we require to catch up with what happened until we are ready to face the pain. When we finally embrace the loss or change, release and healing begin.
Shock can shut down the entire system and put us into overwhelm over any little thing, so please be gentle with yourself and others who are grieving. You may be in much more pain than you even know. Current situations can trigger past traumas, so you could be dealing with much more than a current loss.
Many times we don’t believe we have what it takes to go on. There may be so many emotions we don’t know what to do or where to begin, but go on we must. There will be better days and better times and certainly breakthroughs that lead to a new path.
Anger often comes up unexpectedly and voraciously at times, which can be overwhelming in an entirely new way, and empowering in another. Allow it. Punch pillows, exercise, talk with friends, journal, scream in your car. Express the anger in safe ways to release it from your system. As in all emotions, the more you feel what comes up, the more deeply you heal and transform. FEEL TO HEAL.
When we process the anger and rage, feelings of life not being fair often arise. You may be mad at everything and everyone for a while. Just allow it, with the awareness that what or whom we direct our anger at is only a structure for the moment to help us release. Eventually we won’t feel anger at that person or thing any longer, so keep that in mind and process your anger in solitude if you can.
The amount of anger you feel is a reflection of the amount of love you wish you had instead. Love will be replenished from another Source. Have faith. You are loved.
The mind can search for answers to bring back what we lost in some way. Thoughts will pass through… if only I had known this or that. If only I had done this or that. Whatever has happened is done and we find ourselves in life exactly where we need to be. Embrace everything just as it is.
Depression can be one of the more lengthy stages if we hold back on really feeling, processing and looking within. There may seem to be no light at the end of the tunnel; no hope, no relief or answers as we feel into the darkness, but this too shall pass. The light is there, we just can’t see it at this stage.
When we can breathe deeply again and accept what has happened without moving into denial, rage, sadness, or depression, we have reached a new foundation and will begin to move forward as a new person with a new reality.
This does not mean we won’t feel the loss or the pain of the changes that have taken place, it just means we have found a new platform within ourselves to move forward. We see life for what it is; a new opportunity to build a new life. We begin again.
Many layers of feelings will need to be processed and you may find yourself feeling better one day and worse the next. This is normal and it’s important not to push yourself. Your entire being is re-calibrating to life in this new way.
Please be loving, patient and kind with yourself and those who may be processing grief.
My heartfelt compassion to all
The greatest pain arises
from not feeling we can love any longer,
especially in the circumstances of loss.
When we are in fear, we are in pain.
When we love we are in pleasure.
This is the core of our grief,
Feeling incapable of connecting to that love.
It gets better