Grief is sticky, a bit like those double-sided tape rollers used to remove lint from sweaters. Unresolved grief tends to act like a magnet and attract your more recent grief to stick around. This goes on under the radar and below our consciousness. It is not that we want to hang on to our grief – more it is we have forgotten how to fully clear it out of our system. So we accumulate pieces of grief from different types of death and it all get stuck together under the surface.
There is this low grade unhappiness I notice in people that I believe stems from our inability to grieve well and completely – sometimes some of us aren’t able to recognize we in fact are experiencing grief at all. It also is a result of the lack of meaningful and practical rituals in our busy urban lives.
Below is a list of mini deaths or losses that most often are not recognized as worthy of grieving and yet grief, our natural human response to loss, is ever present whether we acknowledge it or not.
Loss of employment – Loss of relationship -Loss of ability or capacity
Loss of childhood -Loss of adulthood – Loss of money
Loss of a limb – Loss of youth – Loss of energy
Loss of appetite – Loss of a pet
Loss of personal freedom
Loss of identity
The first step to becoming personally grief resilient is to acknowledge that change such as the examples above does lead to a natural grief response.
The second step is to create a special place in your home that could be a spot that you can go to grieve the losses you experience in your everyday life.
The third step could be to create a special space in your garden that you could use as ‘cemetery’ for the losses to be buried.
Here is an example;
I lost my job and though I was angry initially I realized I was actually sad. I was grieving the loss of my pay cheque and a part of my identity. I allowed myself to feel the loss and wrote of my experience in my journal and created a paper object that represented both the cheque and the job. I burnt it as a mini cremation and then I buried the ashes in my garden.
As simple as this may seem it worked for me. I created a ritual that allowed me to acknowledge the loss, to grieve it, and to bury it so I would not carry it around with me and add to it with other losses. In other words I put my grief garbage out for collection! As I buried the ashes I did so with a feeling of gratitude as best as I could must. I gave thanks for the pay cheques, for the opportunity to work with my work mates, and for my newfound freedom. (This piece was tough initially!)
I also looked at what I had done in my estimation to bring about the firing, along with what I think I could have done to have avoided it. Guilt.
In handling The Three-Gs, grief, guilt, and gratitude I was able to move forward in my life without the anchor of the loss holding me back.
Acknowledge the grief
Check for any subtle guilt
Process all of it with gratitude.
Warmly and with gratitude