I don’t know about you but sometimes I feel like I’m a bit of an expert on feeling grief. That’s not because I know how to handle grief because I don’t always. It’s because I seem to have experienced so much of it. I used to think that being on a spiritual journey would help my feelings of grief. But in reality, having recently lost someone I love dearly, I found my grief still runs very deep. My spiritual beliefs certainly help to deal with grief, but they do not take it away.
Everyone grieves differently
It sounds a bit of a cliche to say that everyone grieves differently, but it’s true. We either get immersed in feeling grief or distract ourselves from it. Or we have beliefs which help us handle grief better than others. Grief can strip you of any feelings of happiness, hope, and well-being. Sometimes it feels like you can do nothing about it either. All of these ways of dealing with grief also vary in levels of intensity from person to person. What I do know for sure though is that grief must come out.
A few years ago a friend of mine lost her father. She cried for about a year. Every time I saw her, she usually ended up in tears. It was hard for her, but I admired her because she was unashamedly grieving. She was able to let her grief out and eventually, she felt whole and happy again. Too often we feel like we shouldn’t grieve, or we shouldn’t grieve for long, or we are scared to grieve. We hold it in and it takes us much longer to heal.
When I lost my Dad, I couldn’t cry for 3 years, I think there was a part of me that felt if I started I would never stop. It took its toll on me. Eventually, I had to spend months off work with a spinal problem where I was literally bent double. I didn’t realise it then, but I was bowed down with pain which was not going anywhere because I wouldn’t let it, and so it had to manifest physically.
There is no set time for grief
Sometimes society seems to suggest we ought to “get over it”. A friend I know had bravely returned to work very early after losing a very close relative who had passed away suddenly. She was astounded just 10 weeks in when her boss suggested she ought to cheer herself up as she wasn’t being happy enough for customers. “Try hypnotherapy” her boss suggested.
The truth is there is no set time for feeling grief. Depending on the closeness and depth of the relationship, losing someone impacts us. When a big gap is left in our world, we have to cope with many different aspects of what that means for us.
Grief comes in many shapes and forms
Grief is of course, often at its most acute when someone you love has passed away, but feeling grief comes in many shapes and forms. Divorce or losing a lifelong held dream can invoke intense feelings of loss and grief too. Grieving for a lost future or the love of a person dear to you can be devastating.
Unexpressed grief can create addictions
Sometimes loss creates such intense miserable feelings so we push them back and do whatever we can to distract ourselves from experiencing them. Sometimes those distractions become addictions. But really grief will come out. If you don’t let your grief out willingly it could come out in all sorts of unintentional ways. When this happens your grief is in charge.
When I was grieving my divorce, I read John Gray’s book “What You Feel You Can Heal” It was very powerful to me to understand that I was allowed to go through a range of emotions. I realised it was ok to feel angry. I allowed myself to get in touch with my fear about the future. Going through a range of feelings gave me a welcome relief from my intense feelings of pain.
Being on a spiritual journey and grief
I lost my parents decades ago. I remember them vividly as if it were yesterday. Although sometimes I feel sad, I always feel they are with me, and I remember them with a smile more often than with tears now. Having gone through this amount of grief had prepared me well for other losses, or so I thought.
What I have found when I recently lost my dear dear friend, was that although it still hurts and I miss her badly, I am not afraid of grieving any longer, and I can certainly think of happy times more often and sooner in the grieving process. Because of my spiritual journey, I also think she is near me still.
A spiritual journey
Enlightened people and some of our greatest spiritual teachers don’t believe in death. They know life is eternal. We are spiritual beings experiencing life through our physical bodies. On the level of form, we believe we are all separate. On the level of spirit, we know we are all one.
When Esther Hicks, the brilliant channel for Abraham lost her husband Jerry Hicks even she grieved until she reminded herself that actually, she had enough experience with Abraham to know Jerry was and still is with her. He just hasn’t a physical form.
But the majority of us aren’t enlightened masters and so all you can do is allow yourself to grieve in the way that is best for you. Here are some ways you can grieve without it overwhelming you and remaining in suffering for longer than you need to.
- Be kind to yourself
- Let the grief help you love yourself more
- Let your feelings of grief come up
- Try to give yourself space to let them come up
- What you feel you can heal
- Know this will pass
What is your experience of grieving? Do you think we ought to let go and let love? Or do you think there are merits in maintaining a stiff upper lift?