“Grief is a sign that we loved something more than ourselves.” (Joan Chittister)
We experience loss the minute we are born and lose the comfort and protection of our mother’s womb. Thus it continues throughout life, as hardly a day passes without loss palpable in some way. Loss is an integral part of nature, offering both helpful and harsh bursts, signaling unbearable pain or incredible growth. Whether losing a tooth, a job, a precious item, a friendship or a loved one, we humans are no strangers to loss. Whether loss ends in defeat or is the impetus for new growth, most people cringe when they sense loss coming. Loss inevitably brings change, which can be unsettling, thrusting us into unknown territory.
Grief is the normal reaction to loss from death. Despite our relentless relationship with loss, grief that accompanies death places us temporarily in a space where time passes differently and brain fog is common as we sort out what’s real and navigate uncharted, rough waters. When we lose someone we love, despite our resilience with loss, we can find grief overwhelming. Each person’s grief is distinct. Members of a family do not experience the loss of a beloved member the same way. Siblings do not mourn their parents the same and each spousal loss grieves a unique, unrepeatable love-story. Unfortunately, there is no “how-to manual” mapping the direction, the path or journey’s end.
Grief is not a straightforward path, not even a nice circle. It is more like a dance that you make up as you go along. Dancing is a universal ritual. Sometimes, in an effort to discover the best steps, we must create our own moves. Grief can be like this, causing us to feel out of step until we are confident enough to glide shamelessly across the dance floor. Healthy grieving results in a newly developed relationship with someone we loved who is no longer physically present, but remains in our consciousness, memories, hearts and traditions.
Because each relationship is different, each path to securing our new relationship with the deceased will be different. Grieving usually doesn’t follow a neatly prescribed process of stages or tasks. But I do find J. W. Worden’s four tasks of grieving helpful: accept the loss, acknowledge the pain of the loss, adjust to a new environment and reinvest in the reality of a new life. It is important to realize these are not sequential, linear, or accomplished on a given timeline, but rather each of these tasks help us adapt to a new normal.
Grief is hard work. I advise you to travel the road with companions and that you be gentle with yourself. Wherever you are on grief’s journey, I invite you to join us for a seminar to reflect on the nature of grief, this Saturday, June 26th. Pre-registration is necessary.
“Grief is love not wanting to let go.”
Earl A. Grollman
The Journey of Grief: Finding Your Way, Healing Your Spirit
Pamela Reidy, Director of Community Education, Miles Funeral Home
Saturday, June 26, 2021, 1:00-2:30 p.m.
Holden Senior Center – 1130 Main Street, Holden
Seating is limited. Seminar is free and open to the public.
Light Refreshments will be served.
Please call (508) 829-4434 or (978) 422-0100 to reserve your spot.