Thursday, August 03, 2006

Giving Grief Its Time

I could really relate to this article I found written by Thomas Ellis, author of This Thing Called Grief: New Understandings of Loss. I added his Web site at the Center for Grief to my list of links. Hope this sheds a little light on what you're going through.

Grief has been described as a roller coaster of emotions, a wave that engulfs you, an ever-changing sea of experiences, and a place with no ceiling, floor, walls or protection. C.S. Lewis experienced grief as feeling like fear itself. Whatever our experience is today, we begin to learn that it will most likely be different tomorrow. This is not about clear, predictable "stages."

Rather, it is a natural process of dynamic changes with the power to ebb and flow as it may.Amidst a culture overcome with demands, expectations and stress, it can be difficult to be attentive and intentional about our grief process. Some believe it can wait, while others make great attempts to avoid it. Know that grief will not be pushed aside or denied. Attempting to postpone this grieving is merely postponing the potential for healing.

Another frustrating characteristic of this process is its ability to wait and fester. This intruder will grow in intensity and has the potential to create more misery in the interim. It has the capabiltiy of robbing us of a sense of reality and energy for others and ourselves. It can take away our ability to forgive. It has the potential to rip away our sense of self and the desire to live.The challenge before us is to begin simplifying our lives, acknowledging our losses and making space for our grief. Time spent exploring these life realities can quickly help us re-prioritize what we do and who we are.

How much time do I spend each day acknowledging and taking care of myself?Is time spent with others who truly care about me and help me in my process?Am I able to delegate certain tasks and responsibilities to others?Do I take time for myself to promote a sense of calm, healing and growth?A final approach in this grieving process may be to explore "what helps?"

Your list may include some of the following:Caring and validating people, journaling, creating a memory book, reading, creating a place of sanctuary, therapeutic environments (individual, family or group therapy, religious affiliation), new exercise ideas (walk, run, swim, bike), spiritual journey, meditation, new openness to fun, being expressive (talk, cry, laugh), etc...No one can tell us how or how not to grieve. This is a unique and personal experience. Allow yourself the time and patience your grief may demand.

This grieving journey is like the seasons of change in our very soul - fall, winter, spring, and the renewed sense of hope and courage in the summer of life.

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