I remember when I was young and learning to color – I always colored outside the lines against firm encouragement to stay within the confines of them darn outlines. For those of you who know me it is no surprise, my rebellious spirit shone through at a very young age!
Well, grief is very much like this simple analogy. It may seem as if there are lines to stay within however in my personal and professional experience this simply is not the case. We structure grief, format it, and try to formulize it in order that we can understand it and map it out to help people through their loss and grief. We do this for good and loving reason and yet it is not at all helpful or supportive for the ones grieving.
Each dying process, each death and each grieving process is absolutely unique and has no lines to color within. This demands of those of us providing education and support to those on their grief journey to be freehand artists of the highest caliber. We need all the variety of paint brushes we can collect – knowledge, wisdom and tools, coupled with as much assortment in paint color as possible – experience.
The grief artist also requires heart presence and warrior-like awareness in order that they recognize the unique nature of each canvas – person – they are working with. To choose the right questions – the brush – and ask it at the right time – the color – is a true sign of both heart felt presence and mastery.
Grief has no lines or boundaries to paint within so stop looking for the map. Instead just jump in; get some training; get some experience; and become the freehand grief artist you are.