What it Feels Like to Move Through the Grieving Process

If grief and bereavement are upon you, you might be wondering if you’re doing it right, or if you’re the only person in this world feeling like this or suffering this deep. We can certainly say for sure that you’re not the only person in the whole world feeling this way and you’re certainly not doing it wrong. In fact, there is no wrong way to grieve but there’s not a right way either.

Grief is simply “Love looking for a place to land.” We go through grief and bereavement sometimes for people that meant the world to us, pets the meant a big deal to us and whether you realize it or not, people we may have been estranged from, didn’t have a likeness to, or people we have been downright angry with for a long time. It’s still the same, when that person is not simply not in your life but gone from the world, it can invoke some serious feelings in us.

You should keep in mind that grief is not fluid. You may move through the stages of grief in any kind of order, you might go back and forth between some stages or even experience the same few stages repeatedly. If you’re feeling stuck in your grief, you need to yourself and hear yourself out here.

The most important thing you can do is apply some focus inward, experience each of your emotions and allow yourself to feel exactly how you need to. There is no emotion that should be off limits so give yourself the permission, time, and energy to move through emotions just as they are rolling in.

Some days you might feel okay while other days may feel insurmountable but in time you’ll find yourself moving in the right direction so just keep on going until you find that peace and joy outweigh any of the other not-so-great emotions that come with loss and grieving.

Smith, C. “Redefining the 5 Stages of Grief”. Huffington Post. (website). 2018

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  • This is one of my favorite takes on grief, from my favorite author, Anne Lamott, in her book Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith:

    “Grief, as I read somewhere once, is a lazy Susan. One day it is heavy and underwater, and the next day it spins and stops at loud and rageful, and the next day at wounded keening, and the next day numbness, silence. I was hoarse for the first six weeks after Pammy died and my romance ended, from shouting in the car and crying, and I had blisters on the palm of one hand from hitting the bed with my tennis racket, bellowing in pain and anger.

    …I am no longer convinced that you’re supposed to get over the death of certain people, but little by little, pale and swollen around the eyes, I began to feel a sense of reception, that I was beginning to receive the fact of Pammy’s death, the finality. I let it enter me.

    I was terribly erratic: feeling so holy and serene some moments that I was sure I was going to end up dating the Dalai Lama. Then the grief and craziness would hit again, and I would be in Broken Mind, back in the howl.

    The depth of the feeling continued to surprise and threaten me, but each time it hit again and I bore it, like a nicotine craving, I would discover that it hadn’t washed me away. After a while it was like an inside shower, washing off some of the rust and calcification in my pipes. It was like giving a dry garden a good watering. Don’t get me wrong: grief sucks; it really does.

    Unfortunately, though, avoiding it robs us of life, of the now, of a sense of living spirit. Mostly I have tried to avoid it by staying very busy, working too hard, trying to achieve as much as possible. You can often avoid the pain by trying to fix other people; shopping helps in a pinch, as does romantic obsession. Martyrdom can’t be beat. While too much exercise works for many people, it doesn’t for me, but I have found that a stack of magazines can be numbing and even mood altering.

    But the bad news is that whatever you use to keep the pain at bay robs you of the flecks and nuggets of gold that feeling grief will give you. A fixation can keep you nicely defined and give you the illusion that your life has not fallen apart. But since your life may indeed have fallen apart, the illusion won’t hold up forever, and if you are lucky and brave, you will be willing to bear disillusion. You begin to cry and writhe and yell and then to keep on crying; and then, finally, grief ends up giving you the two best things; softness and illumination.”
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