Monday, April 29, 2013

What's Grief?

Someone who has been a part of your life has died and life as you have known it will never be quite the same. As James E. Miller, renowned author and grief counselor, mentions in several of his writings, no matter how prepared you thought you were, you may now be realizing you are not quite ready. And despite all the pain you have already endured, in no way could you have imagined the ache you are now experiencing.

You had no idea how your life would be affected. Your routines and rituals have changed and your world appears so different. But with each day you are learning as you travel on your journey of grief.

There are many ideas and theories regarding the order your grief should take. Some will even tell you the “right” way to grieve. All of this may be a bit confusing to you and you may come to wonder what the right way is. “The right way is your way.” Your relationship with the person who died, the circumstances of the death, your personality, life experiences and previous losses will all be factors in how you will grieve. Your grief is unique. This is true for adults as well as children.

As you ride the emotional roller coaster of grief remember that your feelings are neither right nor wrong. They are your feelings to experience as fully as possible. It is often helpful to share your feelings with others, whether it be friends, family, clergy or a support group. Being among people who support you can be an important source of strength for you. These are the people who will allow you to grieve in your own way and who will respect the fact that there is no timetable for grief. You may find it is those individuals who have been through the grieving experience who seem to understand it best.

Remember in all of this, grief work is hard work. It is exhausting to your body and mind. However, the only way to get beyond grief is to walk through it. Healing does come with time, patience and acceptance.

This article was compiled, in part, from the work of James E. Miller and his book Winter Grief, Summer Grace Returning to Life After a Loved One Dies.