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Don’t Hurry Grief, it deserves to be felt.

My passion is talking to people about grief and loss, letting them know that grief is a natural part of life. We’re born, we live and we die. It’s the circle of life, right!

What I find most common in talking with others is that they want to ‘hurry up’; ‘move forward’; ‘Get over it’; ‘Get on with life’; ‘stop feeling the pain and suffering’. You know, death, dying and loss of anything is part of life and you don’t have to rush through certain stages to get to the other side and be healed.

In my opinion you don’t need to be healed. Grief isn’t a disease, it’s a state of being after you’ve experienced great loss. As the great grief therapist David Kessler says, “Love and grief come as a package deal. If you love, you will one day know sorrow”.

Know that grief is a normal human reaction to the death of a loved one and your journey through grief is unique to you. It’s your journey and whatever you feel, sit in that feeling, experience it and then go on with your life. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should be feeling because it’s not their journey. The trouble with this journey is there is no schedule, you have to experience this journey yourself and learn how you’re going to live your “New Life” without your loved one physically being in it.

Tips for couples

If you have a partner, be mindful that you’re both grieving. It will probably be different for each of you. Grief is like your fingerprint, no one has the same fingerprint as anyone else.

Make time for each other

Set a time to talk to each other about your grief or to just sit with each other because sometimes there are no words. One of you might talk and the other is quiet and wants to be strong but breaks down while away from the house for your sake. Both of you may choose to grieve away from everyone (even your partner).

This is what my husband and I did

I didn’t see my husband cry about the death of our daughter. Then about 10 years ago while he was telling a male friend about our daughter’s death, he began to cry. He apologised for crying. This particular friend is perfectly fine with emotions being shown and they had a chat about why it’s all right for my husband to show how he feels.

It’s a deep loss and while my husband and I were grieving (for many years after her death) he felt he had to be strong for me, I felt I had to be strong for him and sometimes that didn’t feel comfortable. It strained our marriage at the time but we got through it and are doing better at talking about our daughter and what it means for each of us.

That was in 1986 and through the years both of us had amazing therapists who have helped us learn and understand our individual grief and the benefits of talking about our feelings and how they impact ourself and each other.

Why I’m passionate

I’m passionate about talking about death, dying and grief because I want it to be a natural part of everyday conversations and so people don’t feel alone and abandoned in their grieving process.

Grief is a process and learning to understand how you grieve can help you live alongside it and live a life filled with joy and contentment. This doesn’t mean you’ll be happy all the time, it means you’ll see your emotions as teachers in your life. Rather than trying to get rid of your emotions, you invite them in and learn to understand that grief is there and so is the rest of your life too.

Your experience of grief changes over your lifetime, you won’t always suffer this absolute heartbreak and feel your life has been destroyed. They say, ‘Time heals all wounds’ it’s not the time that heals, it’s what you do in that time that heals.

The Wrap Up

My encouragement to you is to feel your feelings. Really take the time to get to know them, sit with them and they’re just feelings. People often search for the reason for them, sometimes there is no reason, they just are.

As my personal trainer always says, “Get comfortable with being uncomfortable” I think we’ve fallen into the happiness trap of wanting to be happy all the time. That’s impossible, all our emotions are valuable and need to be felt, acknowledged and not dismissed.

Lastly, don’t hurry your grief, it deserves to be acknowledged as being a part of your life and honour your loved one.