Posted on September 21st, 2010 by Colin and is posted in Growth
I have found from personal experience with the loss of my sister and the many emails I’ve been sent most of us don’t do a very good job of grieving well. Life doesn’t do a great job of preparing us for these types of experiences!
Because grief can be so painful, and seem overwhelming, it frightens most of us. Many people seem to worry if they are grieving in the “right” way, and wonder if the feelings they’re having are normal.
One thing I think we can agree on is grieving well is NOT easy. I know how difficult it’s been for me but I am slowly learning. So, how do we grieve well? I want to share two things that I have learned that are helping me and make a request of you.
1. Paying attention to the feeling of grief
If not careful, the first tendency is to mask the painful feeling of loss by engaging in different forms of self-medication. Drinking, over eating, shopping, throwing ourselves into our work, drugs and gambling are all ways we might quickly take ourselves out of the pain of grief into pleasure.
The function of self-medication is to put a buffer between ourselves and the experience of our emotions. Self-medication serves to numb us so that we are out of touch with what we feel.
Most self-medication activities are fine and a natural part of everyday living. The danger lies when they become a crux or a habitual coping mechanism.
Numbness is not something we want our heart to experience, because there is more to life than grief: numb our heart, and we will find even the more enjoyable things in life difficult to appreciate. Finding our smile will become even more difficult.
The long road to recovery is often slow and winding and if there is an over reliance on self-medication we can lead ourselves right back to where we started – more pain through empty addictions!
The healthiest thing we can do is just surrender to the grief. Don’t try to fight it, deny it or avoid it.
I am a surfer. I love surfing. I have found the experience of grieving to be just like surfing. Some times I know a wave of emotional energy is coming and I manage to ride the wave of grief to the end of its energy.
Other times I think I can ride it but its too big and I’m thrown off and taken under by the grief’s powerful force. Like surfing, this is the time to surrender to its energy. Fighting it is futile. It’s too powerful. You’ve got to let it take you down, all the way down, until you hit the bottom. Only then can you make your way back up to the light of the surface.
Here is how it was put it in an email that was sent to me:
“You must go through very difficult times, but if I may have one tiny bit of advice: live the pain and the grievance to the fullest, go to the bottom of it, and then light, joy and life will shine again”
2. Don’t go it alone
This is what one person put in an email to me,
“many, many times in my life I have sentenced myself to face my pain and my grief alone because I was scared to share it with others.”
That is what happens when we try to face our grief and pain on our own. It’s often a very foolish and very sad thing to do! It’s so important to share our grief and our pain with others.
My last video Baring My (Your) Soul proved this to me. Just look at the amazing response that followed. The encouragement and support blew me away!
Yes, it can be very hard to admit our struggles to others and the risk of sharing (I nearly didn’t) does take courage. It’s scary and the outcome is somewhat uncertain but the blessings can be huge!
Also be careful not refuse the help of your spouse, children, or friends as they try to comfort you. The more people there are around you, the better possible chance of a faster recovery.
3. My request to you – Share your proven techniques and coping strategies that can make bereavement easier and more comfortable to endure.
I’m not sure there is a “right way” or “wrong way” to grieve… but I believe there are ways to make the whole ordeal more bearable and find, with time, successful closure.
I have been sent so much wisdom from those of you who have lived through grief. So many of you have shared your personal stories of how you’ve learnt to handle grief.
You have helped me in so many ways and I’d like to ask you to be kind enough to put your strategies, ideas and suggestions in the comment boxes below for others who are grieving to learn from.
What are you top tips to grieve well?
I’ll kick it off what’s been helping me over the last couple of weeks:
Listening to inspiration music.
We didn’t have hymns at Sharon’s funeral; we played four tracks of music instead. Sharon chose two of the tracks. Mick chose one and I picked one (Well that’s not absolutely true but more on this in another post). Each track was specifically chosen for the lyrics.
Even though it’s not easy to listen to these tracks I feel very close to Sharon when I do. In a funny way I find them very comforting and they are helping me to grieve well.
Here are two of the tracks we played. The first is the one Sharon chose. Its Eva Cassidy – Song Bird
(make sure your speakers are turn up)
Track two is the one Mick chose. Kate Bush – Women’s Work
Two amazing songs!
Now it’s your turn…
Please leave your:
- Book recommendations
- Useful websites/blogs
- Personal strategies. What’s worked for you?
- Experts in this field
- Poems or songs
- Any other
in the comment box below.
If you have something to share please stay on this site and share it no matter how small or insignificant you think it is.
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Go on… leave your mark!
Bless you all