You, dear reader, are no doubt involved in moving through a grieving process, or would like to be doing so. You have sustained some significant or personal loss. To fully engage in grieving your loss or losses you probably would want a fuller understanding of what that process entails.
To grieve is to journey through a process that evokes sadness, aloneness, tears, and missing (someone or something important to you), remembering the true worth of who or what was lost, and discovering how to go with one’s life beyond the loss. Perhaps we can now look more closely at each aspect of grieving.
Sadness becomes the companion to one who has lost someone precious to him or her. Sadness can be intense for weeks and months after the loss occurred. Tears very often accompany the sadness and they beg to be released as often as necessary. Tears bring release and relief to the aching heart. They need not be stifled. However, for the person who doesn’t cry or cries very little after a significant loss, there need not be undue concern. He or she is experiencing a keen sense of loss and sadness in a slightly different manner that doesn’t include tears. None-the-less that person is grieving.
Aloneness is felt when a soul-mate, a life companion, and a true friend is lost. In death a connection still exists, but it is more spiritual than physical and tangible . Periods of personal illness or crises of any sort will cause the grieving person to feel more alone than ever, truly sensing the absence of the loved one.
The griever misses intensely the person with whom he or she has shared life and love over many years, or perhaps only a few. Much love and deep caring have been given and received. Thus, there is a sense that much has been lost as a result of the death. Fortunately, there are the memories.
Remembering is an important part of the journey through grief. There are pictures, memories, and mementos to keep the remembering alive for a long time. Hopefully these carry through one’s whole lifetime. In early grief (the first 6-7 months) remembering is hard because it brings forth sadness and tears. But, as weeks and months pass wonderful memories of times shared float into one’s consciousness and in time replace the more painful memories.
As one moves through the grieving process, the sadness, tears, aloneness, and missing (already mentioned) are accompanied by more intense feelings with which one must grapple. They are a part of the grief process and must be looked at and experienced before they can be put to rest.
In time, one must discover how to go on. One looks at how to have renewed purpose and meaning for one’s life. Remembering that this would be the desire of the deceased loved one is important. He or she would want those left behind to have a full, rich, and healthy life for however long it would be. New dreams, new undertakings, health and happiness, as well as expanded relationships are all a part of the wishes and desires they would have for us.
The grief journey is long and hard, but taking it day by day makes it feasible. With the support and caring of friends, family, and our God, it can be successfully undertaken. Healing of body, mind, and spirit will be the expected outcome.