There’s a lie when it comes to grief.
We think grief should be done and over with quickly. Others tell us to just move on. And life dictates we keep going, jumping back into our routine after a brief pause to say goodbye.
And that’s the lie.
Grieving in all reality is a complicated mess. A sticky, gooey mess.
In “A Grief Observed,” the quintessential book on the subject, C.S. Lewis describes just how messy grief can be.
“They say an unhappy man wants distractions–something to take him out of himself. Only as a dog-tired man wants an extra blanket on a cold night; he’d rather lie there shivering than get up and find one. It’s easy to see why the lonely become untidy, finally, dirty and disgusting.”
Can grief really make us feel untidy, dirty, and disgusting? If not physically, maybe emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.
I felt such when my brother Shane was killed by suicide. Torment wrecked my soul, pain and guilt invaded my space of hope, and peace was gone. While I was blessed with a beautiful gift of healing as he was laid to rest, the process of healing is a journey that continues to this day.
I have also come to experience a degree of beauty in grief. Though heart-wrenching and painful, grief has been a conduit for magnifying the love I feel, deepening my memories, and etching more permanently their impact on my life.
Turning again to C.S. Lewis. “Sorrow,” he writes, “turns out to be not a state but a process.”
Grief is a process that erratically ebbs and wanes just as the seasons of life.
And this is the lie.
I wrote this poem originally for Angie Larsen, a friend who lost her husband in a tragic farm accident. It came to my mind again this weekend in conversation with Laura Stoddard, another friend who also tragically lost her husband in an industrial accident.
THE LIE OF GRIEVING
By Les Patterson
They say grief goes away
With the passage of days and time
But it’s the oldest lie ever told
Saying such should be a crime
Grief is a constant companion
Even a new best friend
Nothing I seem to do or try
Brings our kinship to an end
Please don’t get me wrong
Grief has been a good thing
Healing it has brought
Sometimes I even want to sing
Nor am I broken
Or torn again asunder
Some days I still feel lost
Will peace ever come I wonder?
I want to feel happiness and joy
Instead of being dreary and sad
Yet as hard as I try and be
I only end up being more mad
So no, I’m not strong
I’m just existing, though I grow
Moving forward one day at a time
Is my only option, this I know
FIVE PHASES OF GRIEF
While the lie of grief may feel like it relegates our healing journey one day at a time, there is also the beautiful gift of hope.
This past week I had the honor of interviewing on Red Edge Live Julie Cluff, author of “Miracles in the Darkness, Buiding A Life After Loss.” Julie shared her personal journey of grief, including the loss of two of her children in a vehicle accident.
As a professional grief coach, Julie helps people move through the healing process through better appreciation for the Five Phases of Grief:
Coping – Understanding – Discovery – Resolve – Rebuild
Most often people move from Coping to Rebuild, Julie shared, skipping over the steps between. While moving through the phases is not necessarily a linear process, each phase does play a crucial role in the healing process. Click on the link here to listen to the Red Edge Live interview.
Have a great Monday! Thanks for letting me share!
p.s. Take 13 minutes today to allow yourself to process the Five Phases of Grief.
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