Each of us feels loss uniquely: the loss of a loved one; the loss of a career; the loss of marriage; the loss of financial freedom; the loss of intimacy, relationship or community (connectedness to one another); the loss of a dream or vision; the loss of health; the loss of independence; the loss of innocence; of trust; of faith; of a good reputation. The list is endless. Losses occur on many levels and we each experience loss deeply, personally. But do we take time to grieve them? Do we grieve them well?
Someone pointed out to me recently that when we experience loss but don't take time to grieve them, it impacts us powerfully. Our grief either seeps out or leaks in. Our grief (if not well-managed) can seep out onto others. We might be snarky or sarcastic, rude, short, impatient, irritated or have "$20 reactions to $5 situations." Is your grief seeping out?
When grief leaks in it affects our bodies, literally. We lose sleep or we crave sleep more than usual. We experience stomach "issues" and headaches, jaw pain, fatigue, joint pain - there are many devastating ways that grief can leak in and impact our health. Our bodies can only take so much stress. Is your body trying to tell you something?
I have noticed recently that my body has been quick to let me know when I need to grieve more effectively. My fatigue is immense, I am dizzy when I stand up, my migraines are more frequent and my irritable bowel is, well, irritable.
For some of us, it's daunting - this idea of grieving. We fear we may be stuck in it forever. Lost in a dark, dismal, fearful, anxiety-driven, angry place; with no hope of exit. For some of us, we've grieved more than our fair share, cycled through more often, stayed longer, or grieved over more things than most people. Entering into the pathway of grief is not exactly a pleasant thought. It's work. It's hard work. It's often lonely work. And...it takes time...a long time. So, we tend to avoid grieving altogether.
So, how to manage this grief? How do we grieve well?
We must commit to grieving as a process; a journey that changes us, providing growth and beauty along the way.
"Grief is a tunnel that leads us to someplace new
not a cave or chasm in which to become lost forever."
I am trusting in the promise: grief is a tunnel, yes, a tunnel - that means there is an end, with light. I know I am not walking this path alone and although it may be dark, silent, lonely, familiar, filled (at times) with anxiety or anger - there is a warmly lit end to this path. This tunnel of grief will lead me to someplace new. Did you catch that? Someplace new.