“Grief demands only one thing: to be attended to.”
– Annamarie Fidel-Rice
Grief work is the most sacred, humbling, humanizing, painful, transformative, soulful work there is. There really are not enough words to express how powerful it is to move through a major life loss while staying conscious and awake. Nor are there words to adequately describe the changes grief brings to one’s sense of self, of purpose, and of meaning in life. Grief transforms and deepens us in ways that are unimaginable, and yet common to all of humanity. All of us, as humans, will experience loss in this lifetime – there is no way out. Indeed, grief is the price of a life well-lived. If we are fully engaged in the struggle to be who we are, in connection with others and the world, then we will at some point experience loss.
You might be thinking, “well, that stinks.” You are right! It totally stinks, but if we can befriend our pain with compassion and care, then this pain becomes transformative and meaningful. This can be challenging, if not impossible, to see when you are in the thick of a loss, whether it is the loss of a loved one, a relationship, an identity, or a circumstance. This is why counseling might be just the thing to support you through a process that can make you feel like you are lost in the woods.
I believe that the capacity to work with grief is a life skill, and that the process of counseling can teach you how to grow through grief. Learning to tend your grief can create the space to imagine again a life worth living. I believe it is possible to embrace yourself wholly and fully, even the painful parts, and move towards a life of value, purpose, and connection. I see it happen every day.
Thankfully, you do not have to figure how to do this this out alone. Grieving can be very isolating, particularly because in Western culture grief is hidden and avoided. Well-meaning friends and loved ones often encourage people to “get over it,” or “move on.” It is common for others to say things like, “It was for the best,” or “They’re in a better place now.” The collective discomfort with grief sends a messages that those who are grieving are too much and simultaneously not enough – sometimes even burdensome in their pain. In addition to the grief itself, many people are left to contend with feelings of inadequacy because they believe they aren’t doing it right!
The reality is that there is no right way to grieve, whatever the losses are that you are experiencing. Grief is sacred soul work. It requires time, patience, and (eventually) a willingness to tend it the way you would tend a friend. If you would like to learn how to do this – how to move through grief with self-compassion and support – give me a call today. You don’t have to grieve alone.