Just as each of us was born with our unique DNA, so is the grief experience unique to each of us. There is no Standard Operating Procedure (SOP), rulebook, or one size fits all approach to handling grief. There is no right or wrong way to grieve and no one can tell you how to grieve; however, it is necessary to validate the uniqueness of the grief experience. Honoring your grief story and experience is a necessary part of the journey from grief to gratitude.
Our fast-paced, grief-avoidance cultural society expects us to quickly return to a sense of normalcy following the loss of a loved one. Think about it... human resources policies generally allow months off for childbirth, yet only several days for bereavement. Something that you loved has been taken away from you and you are expected to bounce back as if it was only a small bump in the road. Many are forced to put their painful thoughts and feelings in an emotional hide-a-way box, while pretending to be okay on the outside. At the same time, listening to all the comments that make matters even worse, such as, "I understand how you feel."
Your heart is broken. The hurt is real. The loss is seemingly unbearable. The future as you had planned it has been shattered. The light is dim, if even on at all. The path forward is bleak. The reason to go on might even feel non-existent. Others have forgotten about your loss or even abandoned you. No one can possibly understand how you really feel.
Why do we grieve anyway? We grieve because we loved. If we didn't love, we would have no need to grieve. Grieving is an act of love, an act of compassion; therefore, should not be suppressed. Death is inevitable, but moving beyond grief is a choice. Since you can't go back and change the past or erase it, make the choice to fulfil your obligation to live your life for the rest of your life. Give yourself permission to grieve in order to find meaning and purpose in your life going forward.
What does giving yourself permission to grieve mean anyway? It means knowing that grief is a normal and natural response to loss. It means becoming aware, recognizing, and acknowledging the feelings associated with the loss. It means accepting the loss in order to open up to allow and receive the experience.
Grief is the journey... Gratitude is the destination.
Dora Carpenter is Founder and Program Director of From Grief to Gratitude Coach Certification Program. As a From Grief to Gratitude Certified Coach, you will have the knowledge, skills, resources, and confidence to coach clients through the transformative process of handling the painful emotions of losing a loved one, getting on top of their grief, and moving forward in life with meaning and purpose in the shortest time possible. To find a coach or learn to become a coach and help others through the grieving process, visit http://www.fromgrieftogratitude.com.
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