Things No One Says About Grieving

Everyone thinks that grief is just something that follows death. It's almost a synonym for bereavement now, as if the words are interchangeable. But grief isn't just about losing someone you love. It's like being stuck in a memory, but you can't see that for a fact. 

Grief doesn't fit into neat little categories either. You can grieve for a few months, have a moment of revelation, or spend years working through it. Grieving doesn't go from point A to point B either. You can have moments where it's completely forgotten and then it comes right back into your mind, dragging you down into that memory you can't claw your way out of. It's insidious, creeping into your daily life and demanding you pay attention to it. Even if you put it off to get the day's tasks done, grief goes to bed right alongside you and wakes up when you do. 

Grief is the house guest that doesn't leave. It doesn't decide that it's been around long enough and you can move on. 

Everyone knows that a death--either of a pet or a human being--causes grief. Romantic relationships ending is another common reason. But grief can also be caused by: 

-divorce
-infertility
-unemployment
-the loss of a career opportunity
-chronic illness
-family feuds
-unfulfilled dreams
-aging
-the loss of a friend

Is there a way to deal with it? Of course, but you have to choose to get through it. While some things are so devastating that no one would blame you for staying stuck in that memory loop, there are four ways that you can start working forward to relieve your grief.

First, UNDERSTAND that you're in pain. Your heart is broken, even if your life is outwardly fine. 

Grieving isn't a linear process; there is no point A to point B way to deal with it. If you've been grieving for a week, six months or three years, that's no reflection on you. When you understand you're grieving and you start addressing what did (or didn't) happen, that's the only point you need to focus on. 

Then you have to RECOGNIZE that you're not moping or being melodramatic. You need to grieve. 

Something did (or didn't) happen and it's hurting you. Why are you hurt? What did you lose? Do you feel weighed down? Why? You have to ask questions to find the answers, and those answers will help you discover what you need to grieve for. 

It's painful, but you have to TOUCH your grief. You have to look at what you lost (or didn't gain) and examine it. 

And then you have to let yourself feel. It may seem like a step back, allowing all of the hurt to surface. But there's no way to get through grief without letting yourself really feel all of it. You have to think of it like a shirt--hold it, feel it, measure it. If you don't know the full measure of loss, you won't be able to get rid of it. Either you deal with it or you're stuck in that memory, dealing with it when it resurfaces time and time again. 

After that, you need to MOVE. Move through the grief, see what it feels like and how it affects you. Look at how it interferes with your daily life and work through the feelings until you're able to actually move on. 

The darkest hour is before dawn, and that's never been truer than when dealing with grief. You have to understand that you're grieving, recognize what caused it, touch your grief fully and then move through it to find the other side. 

Your grief is yours alone, so only you can know when you're ready to get past it. If you never do, it's okay. Getting through grief is a frightening process, so don't be afraid to reach out for professional help. You don't have to deal with your grief alone.

 

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