by Ted Wiard, LPCC, CGC (Certified Grief Counselor)
Loss has been part of life since the beginning of time. It happens in nature with the seasons, animals, and natural disasters. With humanity’s evolution, especially in certain societies, loss was hushed and shelved away in some imaginary file cabinet called denial. Grief, death, loss and other “sad” words were not spoken. When emotions were displayed, people became nervous and uncomfortable. Through this unconscious shying away from emotions in grief, many humans were taught that honoring grief and loss was not normal, robbing us of a natural order in the world. In some form or manner we were taught we must “get over” the loss without any tools to heal.
Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, a pioneer in the field of grief and loss, began speaking out on death, dying, and the grief process in the 60’s and until her death. Her work opened the door for people to realize we had lost the tools to grieve from losses.
Dr. Kubler-Ross spoke of the five aspects of grief as: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.
When there is loss, of any kind, there is a death for the person experiencing the grief. In metaphorical terms, when a person experiences loss, a part of that person has died. How they knew their reality before that loss is gone and they will find themselves in a natural grief process.
Two other aspects of the grief process that could be included are isolation and relocation of grief. Isolation fits within many of the phases of grief. Relocation is when we are able to change that physical loss into something new for one’s self.
The process of working with grief and the aspects of grief, gives one the opportunity to understand that there is a natural and normal healing process. It is an individual process with no time constraints. You don’t have to “get over it” and giving yourself permission to feel the phases as they ebb in and out of your emotional world allows you to heal and become conscious and aware. Giving yourself permission to heal can help become your motivation for self-realization and gratitude.
“Thank you Golden Willow. You are a true blessing in my life and part of the reason I am here today, sober, healthy and helping others. Those moments were the catalyst to my climbing out of the cave of my own pain and start to heal and live again like never before. Through all the pain, anguish and grief, I am alive today.” – SS
I had my own notion of grief.
I thought it was a sad time
That followed the death of someone you love.
And you had to push through it
To get to the other side.
But I’m learning there is no other side.
There is no pushing through.
There is absorption.
And grief is not something that you complete.
But rather you endure.
Grief is not a task to finish,
And move on.
But an element of yourself –
An alteration of your being.
A new way of seeing.
A new definition of self
by Gwen Flowers