Monday, December 23, 2013

Is Grief Ever Resolved?


Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be. ~ Abraham Lincoln

A reader writes: Maybe I'm not a good example of surviving this loss. It still hurts, maybe a little duller but it still can bring me to my knees. The life I had with my partner is so drastically different than life today, that's what's so hard to cope with. The kindness, love, acceptance, support, encouragement, laughter has completely been removed from my existence. Is grief ever resolved?

My response: This is a good question: Is grief ever resolved? I believe it depends on what we mean by "resolved grief." If we mean we arrive at a place where we no longer feel pain and sadness regarding our loss, or that grief triggers disappear, or that we no longer miss the person we lost or even the life we had, then, no, I do not think grief is ever resolved.

But that is not my definition of resolved grief. When my own husband Bill died three years ago, I had to come to terms with this question too.

First, I believe we have a choice about our lives and about being happy. Choosing to be happy means defining what that means for each of us and then making it happen. For me, it has always included having meaning and inner peace in my life. With those elements present, I would consider myself happy.

I see resolved grief as coming to a place of peace and acceptance of our loss. In a sense we have surrendered to the reality of it and are in the process of creating or have created a life for ourselves that includes and even embraces the pain of our loss but which is not controlled by that pain or loss. Resolved grief does not control us.

With resolved grief we no longer look at the world or life through eyes that are completely fogged over with grief, fogged so heavily that it blinds us and prevents us from seeing and experiencing joy. Instead we walk with grief in one hand and gratitude and joy in the other. Oh, yes, we feel it, but feeling the sorrow of grief is very different that having it consciously color every hour or way too many hours of our days. Instead grief sits rather quietly in our hearts and souls. It becomes a source of compassion and growth. We become wise and soft. We let go of expectations and hang on to hope. We live in gratitude for what we had and embrace a quiet peace. We continue to grow and transform as a result of a great loss but we are at peace with it, and about it even though it continues to hurt; we no longer fight its reality; and yet we continue to miss the person we love.

I believe that living in our death-phobic society makes it more difficult to resolve grief because our society is all about being happy all the time, and that too often means denying pain and grief. It is in being able to share our feelings about our loss(es) and in having the support we need (such as the support and sharing we find in our online Grief Healing Discussion Groups, with people open to talking, sharing and supporting each other) that resolving grief becomes a possibility. It is also necessary (for most people, in my opinion) to educate ourselves about grief by reading and/or participating in grief counseling sessions if needed.

Making the choice to walk into our pain instead of around it or instead of suppressing it helps us arrive at a place of peace and acceptance of our loss, a place where our stomachs are no longer in knots, where we sleep at night, have created a life for ourselves that is meaningful, and where we allow ourselves to feel the pain of our loss without allowing it to control our lives. I call that resolution or resolved grief.

I wish each of us peace ~ and yes, meaning in our lives.

Your feedback is welcome! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question, or share a tip, a related article or a resource of your own in the Comments section below.
If you’d like Grief Healing Blog updates delivered right to your inbox, you’re cordially invited to subscribe to our weekly Grief Healing NewsletterSign up here

Related Articles:
Enhanced by Zemanta

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comments are welcome!