Grief and Grieving

When you have suffered a loss, any kind of unexpected (or even anticipated) loss it is a normal and positive detour to take in your life to grieve. To deny yourself any of the 7 phases of grief, will likely subject you to bottling up emotions, which will impact your life in negative ways.

Please find ways to love yourself and allow yourself to progress through any of the stages in any way you feel is best for you. There is no right way, there is no wrong way to do it, and take as much time as you need.

No one can tell you how to do this, as there is nothing more intimate and personal than your grief and grieving.

Briefly, the 7 phases of grief are,

1. Freaking Out

Your world has just been turned upside down, and you did not see this coming. You cannot believe that this thing did not work out like you had planned. You did your best to do everything right to ensure your success. Yet, here you are, all your hopes and dreams destroyed as you can clearly see the rubble. Of course, you’re going to freak out, and no one would blame you because we’d do the same thing, if we were you.

2. Hurt Feelings

There is a great deal of emotional expression that will run the gamut. One minute you will be feeling like the very life is draining out of you, unsure whether you can take another breath, or experience another heartbeat. The pain from your heart spreads throughout your whole body and you find yourself battling depression.

3. Pissed and Pleading

After a time spent dealing with having your feelings hurt to the core and the suffering that comes from that you move into the pissed and pleading phase. You are angry at everything, everyone, whether they were involved or not, and even worse, you get pissed at yourself. You start thinking about what you could have done wrong, or what you could have done better, and while you are fully aware of the unrepairable rubble, you start pleading for a second chance, may even attempt to rebuild something out of sheer will, but you realize at some point you cannot do anything about it. Them, you try to beg, or plead with God for another chance, like Groundhog Day.

4. Brokenness

Breaking, letting yourself crumble to a place where you feel like you are helpless to do anything about what has happened. You resign yourself to deciding that there is life on the other side of this, and now you can re-evaluate and plan for getting better, and if you’re committed to finding a way to move on, you can start to find your new normal.

5. Life Begins to Return

You’re starting to get through the day, one step at a time, and the steps are not quite as difficult as they were in phases 1 through 4. You’re feeling your body, mind, and soul start coming back to life. You are now starting to feel good enough to rebuild a new, more improved version of yourself.

6. Rebuilding a New You

Now you’re back on the path to healthful healing, getting over this particular episode and you start making plans to live a better life by being able to have some increasing clarity on this tragedy. From this vantage point you are able to separate the good from the bad and look to find the lessons and find the hidden treasures, the messages that were only for you, that you could not have been open to or received in any other way, and you find ways to integrate this new awareness into the more evolved version of you.

7. Loving the New You

Your evolution is complete, and you have let go of this thing which you can now leave behind in the past while retaining all that is valuable and/or necessary for the survival of the new you. How do you know you’ve let go? Because you can think about what you lost, and you have no negative feelings associated with it. Loving this new you means you don’t judge yourself for anything that’s happened in the past, you fully love and accept yourself and realize that we’re all just doing the best we can with what we have, and love what is, without judgment.

Everyone Is Dying

What can I do to express my support to someone grieving over the recent loss of a loved one?

I am so sorry for your loss of a loved one and grieving

As I age, I am seeing my contemporaries – people I have known, followed, admired, loved deeply or been related to – end their journey on this physical 3-dimensional plane.

While I am an incredibly emotional person, I am less adept at expressing my feelings than others to whom it comes naturally.

Due to loss of loved ones in my life, as well as being more spiritually inclined, I have a good understanding about what death brings and a good feeling about what transpires on the other side. So, now, when someone passes away, I am not as sad and depressed about the person’s passing.

Yes, I feel very sorrowful about the separation of the person that I regarded highly in this life and my inability to see them, or interact with them the same way in my experience of this time and space.

But I am less sad for the individual who has passed over. I have a strong sense that everything is better than it’s ever been – or possibly could be – for that person; and that he or she is not far from me.

Still, all around me, people are making the transition, exiting this world as we know it. After all, we all seem to be doing it, as it appears that everyone is dying.

How can I help someone who has lost a loved one?

In many ways, death can be a cruel concept to embrace, especially if it comes as a surprise.

The person who has died is not suffering, but those who remain can be deeply impacted by this immense sense of loss and grief.

How can you help?

Be mindful not to over-extend your concern. Much of the emotional impact being felt by the person struggling with the loss is internal. While they need to feel as though everything is going to be okay, it’s the last thing they want to hear. Being respectful of this temporary state of confusion is important.

So, how do I express compassion without being offensive?
(That’s the tricky part.)
Food

The most meaningful gesture that anyone showed me in my moment of grief was to bring over a meal. Not to stay and visit (for many of us, most of our work is internal. We just need some space to get a grip on things), just to drop off a meal.

Why, you might ask, would this be so meaningful? Because the last thing I had a thought of was self nourishment, as is the case with most people in mourning. Yet it is important that one’s body and mind has the necessary fuel to effectively traverse the processing of this emotional trauma. Your meal can help contribute to their wellbeing as you express your concern and support.

Touch

If you are so inclined and have the ability to do so, extend an opportunity for a little physical contact. Maybe offer your handshake or place your hand on their arm – do not initiate a full on hug, let them do that, if they feel open to that much contact – and speak these words, “I am so sorry.”

Listen

That is all that you say. Let the person who is grieving say anything they are feeling, allow them the space to emote any way they feel is necessary in this moment, without any response, input or correction from you. Not now.

Tears are acceptable

If you have prepared by having some tissues on hand, and they begin to cry, offer them a tissue, but resist the urge to offer counsel. In this moment, just giving them the opportunity to release all the pent up emotion is the greatest gift of all.

You need not be a pillar of strength, if there are tears – and you feel them coming on – you do not have to hold them back, remembering that you are there for them. Do not overpower their release of emotion, and if you must speak about the person who has passed, refer only to a happy recollection with a smile.

Then ask, “Is there anything I can do for you?”

There may be one small thing that you could do for the person grieving that would be significantly meaningful to the person who is grieving.

Keep in touch

Reach out in small ways to let them know that they are in your thoughts, a brief text, appropriate emoticon, card or quick phone call (without overdoing it) can help someone feel better knowing that someone cares in this sensitive time.

This is a very difficult time for anyone – and knowing that someone is there, regardless of how they feel – is highly regarded support.

Sending love and light to you, if have lost a loved one…
I am so sorry.