The Many Faces of Grief

faces of grief_stormy turbulent clouds_blue sky peeking throughThe faces of grief are an ever-changing landscape unique to each person’s experience. Depending on where you are in the process, the face of your grief and the words you use to describe it will vary all over the map.

Some names for the faces of grief may be:

•  Friend / Companion
•  Enemy
•  Fear-provoking
•  Adversary
•  A stranger
•  Complicated
•  Confusing
•  Overwhelming
•  A blessing
•  Hope
•  Challenging
•  Defining / Shaping
•  Love

Which face of grief is staring back at you today? Was the face different last week or last month? Last year?

Grief never ceases to amaze me in the way it can tie you into a hundred knots, completely change your life, overtake everything—and then take on the face of something totally unexpected.

What’s even more amazing is that grief carries the possibility of transforming what may have been your most difficult and painful experience into something within you that becomes a blessing—or enables you to be a blessing. Go figure! Years ago, I never thought that kind of change would be possible.

What has been your experience? Have you seen your grief change shape and transform into something unexpected? Have you noticed an ever-changing landscape?

Your grief may have worn all of the faces listed above, or others. The faces change throughout your journey. All of the faces are real. All are valid. They’re your faces of grief. What’s important is how you shape the landscape as you move forward.

The choices are yours. What you do with your grief is up to you.

As you go full-circle through the grieving process, what dominant face is on your grief as you emerge? I can honestly say that now, years after my loss, hope is on the face of my grief! Hope wasn’t always there, but thank God, it’s there now. I wish the same for you.

© 2013 Judy Brizendine

Photograph courtesy of Jon Kreider

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