GRIEF

Grief is a thunderstorm that comes and goes suddenly

In the late 60’s the famous psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross entered into a dialogue with hundreds of people that were dying- she wished to understand their experience. Kubler-Ross identified five stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. You have likely heard of these “stages” as they have entered into the popular culture lexicon. As helpful as the stages of grief have been to deepen our understanding of the grieving process, they have also spurred on some inaccurate assumptions about grief. Namely, in the face of the mysterious nature of death, we desire to feel in control. The stages of grief give us a sense of control and have inadvertently created a myth- that grief is a finite process with a beginning, middle, and end that concludes in acceptance once one has “worked through” their grief.

There is nothing neat or linear about grief. The grieving process is often messy and perpetual. Grief is not a season that passes over time- grief is a thunderstorm that comes and goes suddenly. 

So, in the face of all this chaos, how do you find relief from grief? The solution is simple but not easy: you allow yourself to feel it. Grieving can be counterintuitive; it’s healthy to be angry, sad, and relieved all at the same time. Over time, you know that the storm of grief will return. Still, you can learn to understand it will pass, leaving you in a space of deeper awareness, reflection, and eventually increasing periods of acceptance.

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Image by Tanalee Youngblood