Grief and loss shifts every part of you, and you are never the same person afterwards.
Whether it’s the death of a loved one, divorce, or the loss of a job, we all will have moments when life turns on its head. Grief is a normal healing process, as many say, but that doesn’t make it any less life altering. It requires healing to understand these events and slowly try to move on from them. As I have said before, it is not because “everything happens for a reason”, because that is too painful a thought to bear. But, these unexpected moments can provide some truths about our lives, and ourselves. While grief can seem all consuming, the lessons are there to help you rise again. It is during the times of our greatest challenges that we finally understand our strength.
These are some truths that I have come to understand, and hope that it can help anyone who is in the wake of mourning.
Learn from your grief:
- Grief creates gratitude. This was the hardest concept for me to accept. You might not be able to see beyond the difficulty of your loss, but grief can help you to appreciate what you had, as well as what you still have. It is a time to reflect, and try to understand how life moves forward and pushes us to our limits. It’s easy to take things for granted. Grief is a profound way to learn to be more grateful, but the opportunity is there if you are open to it.
- Grief can help you engage with your life. It’s very easy to float along without really committing to anything. We all get too frazzled and busy to truly engage. Tragedy can be a wake-up call and remind you to take in every moment. Ensure that you’re making the most of each day.
- Grief can’t be solved by avoiding it. You might try to avoid your grief by staying busy. Men are especially good at this. But denial can be just as damaging. You can’t stuff your grief into an overhead compartment without something falling on your head sooner or later. You’ll find that your grief will be waiting for you and your sadness will knock you off your feet eventually.
- Grief can help you to refocus. Perhaps you spend too much time focused on work at the expense of your family life, or have let your health go due to life overwhelm. Use grief as a time of reflection. Are you spending your time in the best manner for you? Are you truly taking care of yourself? What is it you really want to do with your time? Have you ever thought about it?
- Life doesn’t stop. After a tragedy, life continues and 99.999% of the people on the planet are unaffected. Everything keeps moving forward. It can be frustrating and make you want to scream. When you are hurting, the isolation can be crushing. But, your life must continue, too. It doesn’t seem fair that the world doesn’t take a timeout for your grief…try to remember that at one time everyone has been broken by loss of some sort. Find someone to talk to who can guide you through the process with compassion and understanding. You are not alone.
- Bitterness only creates more pain. Some of us tend to be bitter regardless of the occasion. We focus and stew in the anger. Grief highlights the fact that bitterness isn’t a viable strategy for dealing with life. Find the moments when you can honor how you are feeling, how strong you are during this time, and how you want to move forward. Grief can facilitate a less bitter view of life if you let it.
- You’ll find out who your friends really are. It’s uncomfortable to be around others in pain. But your true friends will still be there for you. The others will find an excuse to stay away. This can also be a blessing. I have never once looked back toward the people that walked away when my life got “uncomfortable”. It was the friends that stood by my side, offered support, love, and helped me to laugh again that fill my soul.
- You can overcome anything. Your life will eventually recover from your loss, even if you can’t see that now. It’s surprising how good things can be after enough time has passed. You are a warrior! You can then approach the future with the knowledge that you can handle anything life has in store. You’ll be stronger than you’ve ever been.
- You become less small-minded. After dealing with great heartache, it’s not easy to be petty. The small things become even smaller. The important things become more important. Grief can be a blessing in this regard. Your life has the potential to become richer in the future. There is something incredibly powerful in finally not caring about the mindless chatter or cattiness of others. You KNOW what is important to you.
Grief gives you an opportunity to reevaluate your life and refocus. Believe in your strength. You are not alone. xo