Last week I wrote about how to deal with unexpected change. I was blessed with some very supportive answers from fellow bloggers…and an underlying message was to take some time and listen…which I did. I discovered that deep down I was anticipating the grief: the sadness, and pain, I was going to feel because of the change I would be undergoing. And this anticipatory grief was getting in my way—my feelings were not being tended to, and I couldn’t make any choices because I was ignoring what I was really feeling. It was hard to discover my true feelings because what was going to happen was something good, and yet, I was feeling sad.
When I did my residency at the hospital years ago, I used to talk about anticipatory grief often with my colleagues. I worked in the ICU and Transplant Units and could often tell when death was near and I knew when I was feeling sad about losing my patient and watching the family grieve as well. I understood this grief. It made sense. I could call it by its name. Grieving death was normal…something to be expected—and the people I worked with understood it too. They created a safe place to talk about grief.
BUT! Grief isn’t just an experience before or after someone dies—Grief is also very normal in the every day dealings of life. Every Day Grief can happen when: we have a baby & everything in life changes, or the kind of grief we have when we finish college, or the kind of grief we have when we move out of state, or the kind of grief we have when we realize we aren’t living the life we had hoped for and so on. [This kind of] grief is not something we usually want to talk about in our culture. Consequently, when I say, I’m grieving about some future event or something I’m going through, I notice I often get the expected response: “It will be okay. Don’t worry so much.” Yet, the response I really need is a good LISTENING EAR, that is comfortable with my feelings…that says, “I hear what you are saying, and if you need anything, I’m here for you.”
I believe that if we, as a culture, were more comfortable with grief, we all might be a lot happier & healthier in life: We could talk about what we feel—and feel listened to—and be able to move through our grief more naturally and comfortably.
- We wouldn’t be hiding our feelings: Our grief wouldn’t be a hidden experience in our lives that keeps us feeling down—we would be dealing with what we were feeling and give ourselves the chance to understand what we really need at that time
- We would be dealing with our feelings while they were happening: We would be able to be in the moment instead of misunderstanding our feelings for something else.
- We wouldn’t be as reactive to people who are close to us: Sometimes when we don’t understand our grief we may be more reactive towards people we are close to. For example, we may get angry with our spouse because he or she says the wrong thing, when the real reason we are angry is because we don’t feel like we are being cared for—
- We would be able to ask for help or care more easily when we know that we are grieving—if grieving is an accepted part of life–people won’t feel shamed for their feelings or experience of grief and thus, be more in tune with themselves and what they need when feeling this way.
Are you able to talk openly about your grief? Whether it be about death, change, loss of self or identity, etc.?
It is always amazing to me how so many of us talk about wanting to be happy and positive all the time, but in doing so we often forget how important it is that we allow ourselves to feel sadness, anger, loss, etc. because by allowing ourselves to be open about our feelings we actually are allowing ourselves to heal—and the healing invites the positive, happy, joyful feelings to naturally arise.
Give yourself the gift of being tender with you, and let yourself grieve when you need to. Grief comes and goes whenever it wants to show up so don’t be hard on yourself and say, “What’s wrong with me?…Just let it be: accept it and love yourself enough to say, “It’s okay that I feel this way today.” And trust that there will be better days ahead when the time is right!
But also remember that being consumed with grief that leads to depression or grief that begins to interfere with your life, is not healthy— and you should seek help when you need it! You deserve to be well!
Blessings,Erin, Bella Bleue
©Bella Bleue Healing, Health & Inspiration for Your Life™
*photo from Wikpedia: Angel of Grief
18 thoughts on “I’m Grieving and I’m Healing”
I think I’m one of these rare people who doesn’t fear facing grief. I’ve been through it a couple of times now, with each having taught me things I’m glad to have learned. However, those around me didn’t want to feel my grief with me. They left me alone to grieve, and sometimes I needed a shoulder. This is why I’ve made it my mission in life to cry with those who grieve and let them know they are not alone. I will grieve with them. Thank you for pointing these things out about grief.
Thank you for your message. I am sorry you had to grieve alone. (Like you say, grief can be fearful for some because of what it symbolizes). But experiencing your own grief seems like it awakened a deep understanding of grief in you, and has opened doors in your life that allow you to give to others what you, yourself, did not receive. You understand it, and them. You are a blessing unto others. I hope that when you have to grieve again, that you too have whatever it is that you need. Blessings, Erin
Very good topic Erin…made me acknowledge that I do need to greive for myself even though it’s not my nature. It’s always been a problem for me… i can grieve for others but do my best to repress when it comes to me. Thank you – and sending love and healing thoughts your way tonight!
Thank you, Robyn for sharing. I know that being tender and gentle with ourselves can sometimes be the most challenging form of care there is. I work on it every day! Blessings of gentleness and healing to you on this journey of life, Erin
Yes Erin… the most challenging, I agree. We need to continue to work on it … so important 🙂 thank you for your blessings and i send the same to you ~RL
A really thoughtful and heart felt post. Thank you! It’s true what you say, it’s not always best to repress feelings of sadness or negativity even when we are told to think positive and keep our heads up. It’s a process that we all need to go through and I don’t think we would ever TRULY feel that joy or happiness without having been through the sad……….Blessings!
Thank you for your affirmation. The hard stuff is the stuff we don’t really want to talk about, and it’s the stuff that isn’t fun to go through—so I guess it’s why we don’t talk about it very much…but it does help us TRULY appreciate and experience the good stuff–like you mention! I hope you are well! Blessings, Erin
I do a lot of grieving but the worst of recent was before, during and after the loss of our dear boy Sammy. We had to let our male cocker spaniel we’d shared life with for 5 years go last April and omg….the picture I paint of it is when Christopher Reeves Superman finds Lois dead; suffocated in her car and buried in rubble. He drags her out and holds her lifeless body and just screams at the Universe….that’s how I felt! The grief is so much “tamer” now and like a wave that rolls in, I feel my way through it and let the tide flow out. It’s ok to grieve…it’s part of what makes us human. Great topic.
What a powerful image of your love and pain—your experience of Grief for Sammy like Superman for Lois. It certainly sounds like it hurt like nothing else ever could. I remember, I found you from your writing about your experience of the Love of Sammy that seems to come upon you at times…It seems like Love and grief are connected even after death…the peace and the pain flow in and out like the seashore. You have such wonderful images. When you feel your pain, please know I am thinking of you, and that I trust in the loving presence of Sammy always there with you along this journey. Blessings, Erin
(((((hug)))))to Erin 🙂 You are one of those people that would be great to sit and have coffee with I think! So glad we have met here. Your posts are always heartfelt and positive even with the tough subjects. Refreshing.
Thank you for your support! Coffee is always good for a chat! I hope you are well today 🙂 Blessings, Erin
Erin, I feel so blessed to be able to enjoy the gift of connection with you. Without going into detail, let me say that your post was a tremendous affirmation of a realization I came to this morning about my own grief and its significance to my healing process and long-term happiness. Thank you for always being brave enough to share all the parts of you with us, your readers. It is this openness and honesty, coupled with your strength and wisdom, that define your ability to inspire and move so many people.
Thank you, Sloan, for your affirmations and for being the beautiful person you are. I pray that you are gentle with yourself as you allow things to surface and to heal. And that the light of Divine Love gives you strength and comfort whenever you need it. Thank you for your strength, courage and ability to shine through your story. Blessings always, Erin
Do you recognize when you are grieving? Yes, I surely do and feel it really bad 😦
Are you comfortable about feeling grief? not at all. I get upset with myself, I get angry and frustrated and feel i want to die
Are you able to talk openly about your grief? Whether it be about death, change, loss of self or identity, etc.? I usually can’t. It is really hard. I do the opposite and wear the “I don’t care” mask
Nikky, thanks for your honesty. Grief certainly can be painful, and it can also bring up feelings of inadequacy–the yucky feelings…it’s happened to me too. I hope you can discover ways to be gentle with yourself when you feel grief…I work on it always. Blessings and I hope you have a wonderful day, Erin
I’m very open when grieving, but only with one person. It makes it easier in a way because I know that one person will never tell me “it’s okay, don’t worry so much” unless it’s for a good reason. I just found out about 7 hours ago that my grandpa has been diagnosed with congestive heart failure at has been given less than 48 hours to live. I can’t go visit him as we live on opposite sides of the country. I was extremely close to him and he’s completely healthy besides this so it came as a blindside. So yes, I’ll be grieving for a while. I’m grieving now and he’s not gone, but I’m waiting for the opportunity to maybe get a phone call to him at the nursing home. One thing that helps is to remember and only think about the good, and not the bad. Funny and loving memories, talking about him, it all helps in a way. It’s a comfort to the pain, but it’s definitely still there. My only regret is not being able to see him one more time before he goes. I was supposed to visit my old state in February and see him then.
Oh, that’s hard to hear when you are so far away. That happened with my grandmother too. I didn’t get to say good-bye in person. What is it about your grandpa that you have loved so much? I am thinking of you both and pray that whatever both of you need that it will be there for you. If I may ask, what is your grandpa’s name? I often like to hold the names of the dying in my heart, and I would like to hold your grandpa in my heart for you. Blessings, and be as gentle as you can be with you. I’m glad to hear you have someone so wonderful to be there with you. My husband is my solace.
Erin, thank you for your beautiful posts, full of your gentleness and sensitivity. I have read a couple of them over and over, because they so help just by your understanding. I was surprised to see that I hadn’t put “Liked” on a couple, but sometimes I forget especially when reading through tears. Thank you. ~ Lily