Grieving is to feel sorrow, great distress, emotional pain. Sadness happens because someone you loved and cared for died, including our fur babies, yet grieving can be attached to the living. People grieve when a relationship ends, seeing someone you love change because of a struggle with addiction, or the end of a job.
COVID19 has taken a toll on all of us in so many ways, including how we grieve. This pandemic has altered our ability in how we grieve. The gathering together, sharing stories, hugging each other, finding comfort in the presence of others has guidelines. While celebrating the life of someone on Zoom is still celebrating the life, it just isn’t the same.
Grieving is an important part of living. Grieving continues to be an uncomfortable feeling that some people do not like talking about. This part week I talked with a co-worker whose father had died the week before. She talked how she was so grateful that she was with him when he passed. That knowing he was no longer in pain brought her some comfort. She also shared her emotions are all over the place. I shared with her a phrase I had learned during a recent webinar of grieving and COVID19.
“The only way through the pain is to feel the pain.”
Some people are uncomfortable with grief. There is discomfort in watching another person experience the messy, painful, sadness that comes with grieving. We can get stuck with the “I don’t want to say the wrong thing” moment. Showing your care and concern, however bumbled it might feel, it always the right thing to do. It is always the right time to show you care.
Yet isn’t part of what makes us beautiful, amazing people is our flaws, our scars, our resiliency, our strength. Part of the circle of life is knowing the precious nature of living that can end so quickly. All feelings have a place and a purpose in our life, even the really uncomfortable ones. These feelings are great teachers and leaders for shaping us into the person we want to be. When we are feeling discomfort with another individuals sadness that is due to our personal uncomfortableness with our feelings. As Christina Perri states in the song “I’m only human”
“But I’m only human
And I bleed when I fall down”
We all fall, we all bleed, we all experience grief in one form or another. The world is filled with plenty of bandaids to help our wounds heal so we can heal. The stories from our scars are important as they hold a place and a value in our personal story. I know from my own experiences with grieving that is feels crappy and uncomfortable. Yet I would not have changed any of it. None.
In an article in Medium written by Andrea Mantovani titled “KINTSUGI AND THE ART OF REPAIR: life is what makes us” Andrea states “The 400+ year old Japanese art of kintsugi (golden repair) or kintsukuroi (golden joinery) is a pottery repair method that honors the artifact’s unique history by emphasizing, not hiding, the break.
You probably don’t expect other people to be perfect. You may in fact appreciate when people expose their vulnerabilities, show old wounds or admit mistakes. It’s evidence that we’re all fallible, that we heal and grow, that we survive blows to the ego or to our reputations or health and can live to tell the tale. Exposing vulnerabilities, by admitting errors, creates intimacy and trust in relationships, and fosters mutual understanding.”
Grieving is one of our vulnerabilites. It is also one of our strengths. To grieve, be sad, have sorrow represents the courage we take when we open our hearts to loving someone. Our grieving, for the dead or the living, reflects our loving and caring for someone else.
Dr. Shatavia Alexander Thomas said “Grieving is like breathing, but we act like we have to hold our breath,” she says. “It’s a natural process and if you pretend like you don’t have to do it or that it doesn’t exist, you’ll end up choking or passing out.”
For anyone reading this who is experiencing grief I say to you my heart hurts for you. Please take great care of your most precious self. For others who know someone who is grieving yes reach out. Yes do something that shows you care. As we evolve in understanding grieving trying to find statements that are a supportive reflection of our care and concern can be a good thing. At the bottom of this blog I am attaching two different articles. One to help those who are grieving. The other to help those caring bystanders of a grieving person.
You matter. Who you are, the life you are living, all the feels you bring to this world matter. Take care of you. If you are grieving, do your best to embrace your grieving. Endings and death will always be part of living. That is part of what makes us human.
“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same, nor would you want to.” Elizabeth Kubler-Ross
May your grief be with you💜