In my work with grief and loss I have found that many of us are great grief collectors. In part because we don’t want to face the uncomfortable feelings, and partly because most others don’t want to witness our grief either. So what a lot of us do is file it in the grief file in our filing cabinet, more commonly known as our body.
Over time and after we have filed away losses like; a relationship; a job; a pet; or a friend or family member to death, they all seemingly blend together in one big lump of under expressed grief. We can tend to loose track of the individual losses and instead feel overwhelmed by the totality of it all. We take stabs at letting our grief go without much success often because we are trying to dump it all at once. It simply doesn’t work that way!
If we make a pretty complete list of all the changes/losses/deaths we have experienced and then rank them in order of meaningful impact we can then take one ‘file’ at a time out of the grief cabinet and process the emotions associated with that particular loss on its own.
You see each loss has it own unique grief response different from each of the others. Yet, when we lump them together as we tend to do it can feel like on big ball of grief. As we take the ball of emotions apart and handle each loss separately we will discover that with some losses their could be anger and confusion tied into the grief. In another case it may be relief and sadness. In yet another loss it could be sweet sorrow. By handling each as a separate event, which in fact they are, we will have the chance to let go of all the emotions attached to each individual loss. In this way there is no residual grief left behind.
Taking our time to process each loss individually in this way also allows us to notice the life lessons each ‘death’ has brought to us. Let’s take our time, handle each loss on its own, mine each change for the wisdom it brings us, and lighten our grief load in a way that serves our living.