Grieving A New Way

Grief is all too often limited to pain, tears, and suffering. This is certainly a part of grief but it doesn't have to be all of it. A great exercise is to think back to a time in your life when you have had intense grief? What memory comes up? Were you alone? Did you feel better afterwards? More often than not, the memory is negative because we were alone and did not feel better.

We often want to avoid grief because of our previous grief experience. Our resistance has some validity to it. It tells us something about our story. If your grief memory was of you being alone then certainly why would you want to go back to a lonely and grief filled place.

The hope is that we can all enter into a phrase of grief that does not equal suffering. Rather it equals a reorganizing joy. Grief and joy can coexist! I have often sat with people who have and are going through recovery where they describe a profound sense of joy in the grief. That is why so many people say that the emotion of sadness is the healing feeling. Recovery of one's heart allows us to feel joy for the first time instead of grief.  For so many, tears were a dead end and lonely street. So for many, you stopped crying because it didn't help. For others, it just led to more despair. 

John Bowlby and Colin Murray Parkes, pioneers in attachment theory, broke down grief into 4 phases: (1) Shock and Numbness, (2) Yearning and Searching, (3) Despair and Disorganization, (4) Reorganization and Recovery. 

There is a treasure at the end of the rainbow. Our story is longing to be seen, told, and grieved in new ways. If you find yourself acting in the same old pattern then take a gracious look at your story. Our negative reactions and behaviors really are unresolved trauma and grief. The invitation is to start thinking and talking about those events of pain so that you can grieve them in a new deeper way, a fresh clean way. These tears lead us to wholeness and joy not despair. We all need help in reorganizing and making sense of our grief otherwise it stays stuck. The beauty is a not only a shared storied but a shared experience. Our stories are too valuable for grief to be shared by ourselves.