➣ Good Grief: Those Who Grieve Well, Heal Well

by Deborah Grassman

Life is dramatically altered as people learn how to live in the world without their loved one in it. During the period after a death, little peace can be found initially.

The following letter is written by a woman who had avoided grief with the many deaths she had experienced. As a result, she became overwhelmed when her husband died. Luckily, she was amenable to learning how to grieve so that she could be transformed, finding peace. Here is the letter that she wrote describing the healing process:

Dear Grief,
How many times you have come with your black shroud wrapping your darkness around me. But I would only let your blackness be seen for a little while because as I looked into the eyes of others, I saw their pain so I quickly folded you and hid you within myself. As life went along, you came to me with each loss, but I always was quick to fold your black shroud and hide you away – thinking I was protecting those who could see your dark arms folding in around me.Then, I lost my husband, my dear love. You descended upon me, but I didn’t resist you this time. I let you wrap me in your black shrouded arms. As my tears flowed non-stop from my eyes and my spirit, it was as though you were inviting me on a journey with you, with places to stop along the way. I allowed you to take control, and like a little train, our journey began.The first stop was guilt. Could I have done more? Did I do enough? Did I give enough? I wish I had held my tongue. Could I have shown more understanding? This was a hard stop, but I let myself stay here long enough to examine these doubts. By doing that, I came to the satisfaction that I could have done no more than I could at the time with the strength I had. I had done the best I could with the circumstances I was dealing with.
The next stop the little train made was anger. Why was I so angry? Why wouldn’t people stop acting as if I had not experienced a great loss? Why was I being urged to get on with my life? Couldn’t they see I was locked into a place that had not been my choosing? As I lingered at this stop, I came to realize that FORGIVENESS made it possible for me to get back on that little train and continue my journey.Next we stopped at loneliness. It was difficult to see how I might get past this stop. It felt like I had been thrown off a mountain and I was left trying to crawl back up in total darkness having only jagged edges to hold onto. I let myself feel all the deep emotions of loneliness and with time, I decided to get back on the little train.The next stop surprised me with pleasantness. I started feeling the sun and its warmth. I saw blue sky and noticed the colors of flowers, birds, and leaves. They had been lost to me during my journey of grief. I reflected back on the other stops and realized that having let myself get off at each stop, I no longer felt lost any more.But there was another stop. This was the stop of New Life…a new way to live in the world without my loved one in it. I really hadn’t thought it possible. If anyone would have told me that I could now be so vitally alive without him, I never would have believed them. But my journey of grief had yielded many lessons. Lessons like: not to take life or people for granted, to give love freely and unconditionally, deciding to forgive, taking steps to heal anger, and living each day so that it has worth and meaning.

So, Grief, I no longer fear you. I no longer feel I should hide you. You are my friend who leads me through my pain so that I can make the necessary and healing stops along the way to that place where new life is possible.