Permission to grieve

imageOne of the hardest things to deal with is the unexpected. Life is jogging along. Some days are up and some are down. The pattern of our days remains reasonably unchanged for long periods. Then something happens that we couldn’t predict and life changes dramatically. We have lost our pattern. At these times it is hard to recognise that we can give ourself permission to grieve for the loss of the old routine. I feel one of the skills we could choose to learn is that of understanding and letting ourselves have feelings of grief.

In my healing work I meet with so many people who have been soldiering on. Putting their feelings on one side they carry on trying to behave as normal yet feeling shocked, lost, uncertain. Mostly they are holding themselves together with sticking plaster so that the people they care about can be supported first. The love and compassion they feel for those they connect with, who are also dealing with the unexpected event, translates into a continuous flow of giving and supporting. Yet these lovely, brave people have no one supporting them. Support, if offered, is usually turned away towards another person as being more in need. They find it hard to give themselves permission to mourne for the old way of life that has been snatched away from them.

Grief is a natural process because losses, little or great, happen to us every day. Change is a fact of life. We become equipped to deal with change more or less. However, the sudden changes that are in any way life changing, life threatening, or a death itself, hit at the very foundations of our security. The feelings that major events generate can be deep, complex and confusing.  I often find myself acknowledging to someone that they appear to be experiencing feelings of grief (which can include shock, disbelief, anger, sadness, depression, lack of motivation) which they might be finding challenging to express. Especially if they feel that they have to be strong for others. Sometimes having permission to put a name to the muddle of feelings is a great relief. We all respond better when we know what we are dealing with. Often the identification of a grieving process taking place will bring an immediate lift in someone’s spirits. We have coping strategies we can use when we recognise we are grieving.

Once the feelings start to be identified there are ways that we can, individually, let those feeling out. One of my ways of releasing grief is to watch a movie I know will make me cry. My daughter always passes me the box of tissues if I put Les Miserables on.  Or to stand in the shower & cry because I don’t know which drops of water are tears and which from the shower. If I’m angry or upset and need to be physically active I get as many cardboard boxes as I can find around the house (usually in my recycling bin) and spread them all over the floor. Then I enjoy a good stomp to flatten all the boxes. And sometime I enjoy a good scream. Usually on a quiet road or in a field so that I don’t scare anyone. With the moors so handy screaming usually ends up with me laughing my head off too.

When we do acknowledge the feelings it won’t put our life back the way it was. It won’t rekindle our lost dream. But it will help us to face forward and see if there is anything good still left in our life. Being able to grieve positively about what is changing in our lives is a way of ensuring that we live in the moment. That will allow us to find a flicker of hope. Each day will be more precious because we are able to understand we may never get another one like it. A wake is a celebration of life – with ‘missing you’ rolled into it. Give yourself permission, every day, to hold a wake. What have you had to let go of? What is changing? What loss hurts right now? What are the memories about what you have lost? What space has that loss opened up in your life to find new ways of doing, feeling, being?

Grief is something we all share, all experience and all survive. Celebrate your grief because it is really a measure of the love you feel for someone or something. Grief means that you are a loving human who is still alive and living.

Day 142 of my blogging challenge.

2 thoughts on “Permission to grieve

  1. Wow thats so beautiful n 2i fink i needwd 2read this as my dad passed dec13 2015 n iv lost about 3-5 friends since xmas n brother as jus as heartattack so i thank u with all my heart 4sharing
    Much love n light
    from Miss Tezz Barnes <3 <3

  2. Hi Tezz, I’m glad that you found some comfort in the blog. Loosing a parent, friends and having another family member affected by illness must be very challenging. I hope that you can get all the support you need to help you come through the grief ?

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