Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Navigating through grief

I recently received an email from someone who had read my blog, asking for advice on navigating their way through grief. I suggested some key things that I've written about before, and there were plenty of other things I could have said, which are mostly all written about here on my blog, but I may have forgotten to say what is perhaps (in retrospect) most important.

Unfortunately, navigating our way through grief, even when we've done it before, is never easy. There is never a Get Out of Jail Free card from grief, even if we know the process from previous experience, even if someone who has done it shows us the way, and so we still have to go through all the emotions, feel all the pain, before we can know that we will get through it and come out the other side.

Some of the best advice I was given at the outset was to "roll with the emotions." Initially, it's all we can do, and I think it helps to feel what we feel, and to give those feelings legitimacy, and to honour our pain, and what we have lost. It hurts, we're buffeted about and never know if we're going to drown or survive, and we hate it at the time, but what is really important, and what we don't recognise at the time, is that it is the start of healing. It is where we farewell our old hopes, and clear space to allow new hopes, new dreams, a new life to emerge.



6 comments:

  1. I saw a comment recently under an article about childlessness after failed IVF; I wish I'd noted it. It said something like 'Take stock of your life. Change your job if you don't like it. Move house if you want to. Look at what you enjoy and do more of it. Re-train if you want to. Use all available resources for your grief or depression. Get a dog if you've always wanted one. Work less. Now's the time to do what you want to do..". It kind of appealed to me as a pragmatic person who likes to move on fairly quickly. I wish I had it as it was worded better than I have written it. Sometimes those comment sections have pearls amongst all the tosspot comments! I agree with rolling with the emotions - ride the tides, and one day you just feel better, without knowing how it happened...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Different Shores said it all beautifully. Grief signals a transition: honoring what has been lost but also forcing us to face what it's working. Its painful and going through it is scary as hell. Yet so much can come from it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yes, it's a journey... I am so happy that someone reached out to you because I know you would extend your loving, supportive heart toward them but allow them to feel their own way through too. You are so beautiful xxx

    ReplyDelete
  4. Beautifully and perfectly said, Mali. And so so true.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The only thing I would add (which is implied in your post) is that grief has no timetable, and everyone's is different. I've often told people that when it comes to grieving the end of your dreams of children, you're not going to change the hopes and dreams of an entire lifetime overnight, or in a matter of days or weeks... it's going to take time. Lots of time, probably more time than you think. But yes, there does come a point when suddenly you realize you're starting to feel better. :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love this so much. I love the idea of rolling with the emotions -- and making sure that you FEEL them, because if you try to squelch the grief, it will come out in other ways, none of them pleasant. Society doesn't like it when you're not okay, when you're not "thinking positively," when you're sitting in the crap, but it's so necessary. I agree with loribeth, grief isn't linear and it is a unique experience for everyone. There's no one way to do it and no one has all the answers. You have to honor what's right for you -- and I think you said all that!

    I wanted to share this, as it seems so appropriate to this post, shared by a friend who lost her mom recently but I think it applies to all sorts of grief: http://beautythings.info/2017/09/24/when-asked-for-advice-on-how-to-deal-with-grief-this-old-man-gave-the-most-incredible-reply/

    ReplyDelete