In my own personal journey with grief both the under expressed stuff and the grief I fully expressed I noticed something interesting. The under expressed grief, the sadness I tuck away, gets lonely and in an odd way attracts new grief to its side. A bit like a hairball.
You know a hairball begins with one hair all on its own behind the couch, unnoticed by the untrained eye. Not so long after a second hair with a little dust cuddles up with the first hair. Still overlooked by the unsuspecting eye. Before you know it there exists a full-blown hairball in all its glory – one that shocks the previously blind occupant.
Grief can be much the same as the unwanted hairball. It starts with one little loss and a bit of leftover or under expressed grief. This one lonely shred of grief is difficult to spot or notice on its own. It hangs around though waiting for company. A second loss occurs and a little grief is left over and joins shred one. And so it goes. It feels like all of a sudden you are grief ridden or depressed.
Two things can prevent the unwanted accumulation of grief hairballs;
- The full and complete expression of the grief you feel.
- The use of ceremony or ritual when loss is experienced.
When grief is present make sure you have a friend or family member who is able to receive and witness your grief. Having another person receive you is very important – you cannot grieve alone! From time to time professional help with backed up grief may be required.
It is also a great practice to create a ritual or ceremony when we do experience a loss of importance. Losses like a relationship, a job, a home, an ability, or a limb would be examples of losses that we normally do not mark with a ceremony. The use of ritual or ceremony is an excellent way we can mark the loss and make it visible, in a way giving it a physical life and a physical death. The physical ritual truly helps the healthy expression of grief.
Grief is a natural and healthy human response to loss, be aware of losses and express your grief fully with the support of a ritual or ceremony. In doing so you will prevent the unnecessary accumulation of hairballs.