This time of year should be joyful, hopeful, exciting, and filled with anticipation. But when you’re grieving, the holidays often produce feelings of dread instead of happy expectation. If you’re grieving, what are you supposed to do? Are you doomed to an anxiety-ridden season?
Posts Tagged ‘stunned by grief’
You’ve just been overwhelmed by a major loss. You feel powerless. You’re in agonizing pain. You don’t know what to do or think. And I’m urging you to choose to grieve. What do I mean?
At first, your pain will spread to nearly everything you see, think, and feel. Your thinking will likely be impaired and unfocused, and your concentration reduced. You won’t be in a position to consider and make logical decisions right away. However, don’t be overly concerned. This fuzzy state of mind will improve.
Your initial state of shock and disbelief is your body’s way of protecting you. Your loss is too difficult to absorb all at once, so your body and mind seem to enter into an ‘autopilot’ state. You’re able to function in a basic way, but at the same time, your body protects you from grasping all that is happening within and around you. Reality will hit soon enough.
At any given time, loss is part of our normal, everyday experience, right along with the rest of life—including our greatest joys. When we confront losses, especially serious ones, we often have to remind ourselves that we still have goodness in our lives, too. We sometimes have to force ourselves to remember that the two tracks are always running alongside each other—and our lives are filled with joy and pain, good and bad, ups and downs—at the same time. At certain times, one track carries more weight and is more visible, and during those times the pain tends to overshadow the joy. However, even when pain is the dominant emotion we feel, that doesn’t mean everything in our lives is bad.
I am no different from anyone else. When one area of my life or one thing is really distressing, I’m just as liable as anyone else to let negativity creep into my thinking. We start to question what in our lives is positive, or when we can expect something good to happen again. This kind of thinking is a trap to avoid. We will defeat ourselves by thinking this way.
I hope you’ll check out the article—and share it with your friends and anyone you know who would be interested.
Just click on the link: Fairhaven Memorial Park
Fourteen years ago, I questioned whether I would ever feel like smiling again—and whether I’d be happy in the future. But now I know it’s true—and not just for me, but for so many others who have been through the pain of grief. If you’re wondering the same thing, I want to reassure you that happiness is not only possible, but likely to happen for you, if that’s the choice you make after loss.
A wonderful friend from a past grief support group, who lost his wife several years ago, suggested that I share my story to encourage others who are disheartened and now facing loss. Regardless of where you are at this moment, know that you are not alone, and many of us have been in the same place—struggling with negative feelings, fears, and uncertainties.
My story of loss happened suddenly, without any warning. I thought everything was just fine. My husband took off on a mountain bike ride—something he frequently did—except this time, he never came home. The instant he died, my entire life changed. I had trouble envisioning any kind of future for myself back then.
Laughter is a “healing” escape. Research has confirmed the powerful medicinal effects of laughter. It truly is a miracle drug! And how many ‘drugs’ today have no negative side effects? Laughter produces only positive effects—on both the mind and the body! Laughter even helps to fight disease.
Have you noticed in your own experience that positive and negative responses cannot occupy the same space? If you’re giggling, can you stay mad or upset? How many times have you been angry with someone, and they kept teasing you until you smiled or laughed? When you couldn’t keep from smiling (no matter how hard you tried) didn’t your mood change?
I understand that at times during grief, especially early on, you won’t be able to laugh. And please know that I am not disrespecting or disregarding the grieving process. It’s crucial. However, everyone needs breathing space from grief. Otherwise, it’s too overwhelming.
The word I haven’t been able to get out of my mind this week is ‘hope’ because I so desperately want to express this sense of hope to you. Each of us face losses of many kinds, and they are all devastating in their own ways. Our losses cause pain — and the pain is inescapable. But here’s where the hope comes in!
Grief is the way we get from pain to a fulfilling life again. When we choose to grieve, we are choosing hope, because we’ve decided to take the necessary steps to move through the pain (over time) and start living again.
Grieving does not happen automatically.
But beyond the collective grief of all Americans, for those who lost loved ones that day, 9/11 and what it represents in their lives will never be forgotten — as is the case for each of us who has suffered the profound loss of someone or something that means everything to us. 9/11 is a symbol for all who have known deep loss — but I want to convince you that it’s also a symbol of hope and determination.
Each person who is alive will experience grief. If you haven’t already, it’s just a matter of time. Grief is a fact of life. But what is even more tragic than your loss is for you to allow grief to define the remainder of your life!
You may experience a few changes or many. Your circumstances will determine which internal and external changes occur — and how much they will affect you. They could be physical, emotional, financial, or spiritual ones, and possibly changes in relationships.
When your world turns upside down, no wonder change follows right behind. At first, change is staggering and maybe even paralyzing. I just want you to know what to expect.
I also want to assure you that your grief journey is a step-by-step process. Try not to take on too much too soon. You’ll find your own pace. I’d like to lend a hand.
© 2011 Judy Brizendine