Because we live, form attachments and love, we experience grief when these attachments and bonds are broken.
It makes little difference how the bond was broken. If we had formed a bond, then we will experience grief if it is broken.
Our experience of grief is an essential process for healing from a loss. Experiencing grief is unavoidable if we are to heal.
Everyone experiences grief in their own time and manner. Through the processes of grief, we both cry and laugh as we remember the individual. It is a process of integrating the reality of the loss into our lives in a way that allows us to move forward in our own life.
During the first part of the grief, we may not want to accept the reality of what has just occurred. It seems unreal, unfathomable.
We then may enter a place where we feel angry with the other person for leaving us and we feel abandoned or victimized. Under that anger is our pain. It’s another indication of how deeply we loved that person. This is good, because we are getting in touch with our feelings and it shows us that we did love that person and we’re angry at their loss.
We may then try to make deals with God or ourselves to bring them back, for instance, “I promise to go to church every Sunday for the rest of my life if you just bring him back.”
As the reality of the loss sinks deeper into our consciousness, we may experience a feeling of hopelessness, deep sadness and depression. This is the phase most commonly recognized in the grief process.
This phase allows us to shut down and go quiet so that we may heal on the inside. We’re finally acknowledging the loss but we’re physically and mentally slowed down by the depression. This slowing down process, brought about by the depression, allows us to gradually come to the acceptance of what has actually occurred. This is a very important part of healing from the loss and should not be rushed or avoided. Ultimately, it’s a sign that you’re healing.
At times, it can feel as if we’re going through all of these phases at once and other times, it can feel as if we’re jumping around from one to the other in no particular order.
Finally, at some point, we experience a sense of acceptance for the loss. Acceptance doesn’t mean that we like it, but we stop fighting our loss, and that gives us permission to move forward and live. When we come to acceptance, we once again begin to listen to, and take care of, our own needs. We reach out to others, we reaffirm old relationships and we engage in new ones.
In the meantime, find those things that you enjoy doing, that give you a sense of rest from your emotions, and do those things without casting judgment on yourself.
Dr. Walton's latest album, Healing from Grief and Finding Peace in Your Life, was just released. Check it out on iTunes, Amazon.com, CDbaby for free samples and other online outlets. For more information on Dr. James E. Walton you may log onto his website at LAtherapist.com There you will find free affirmation downloads, videos, self-help CDs and helpful topical pages for you to explore.