What is Grief?

So what is grief, exactly? How come I never learned about it? And how can the same word be applied to death of a family member AND to the more trivial, like missing a vacation due to the pandemic? We may suddenly find ourselves in a world full of grief, without answers. These are questions I seek to explore with you.

Grief is poignant sorrow, affliction, anguish, or heartbreak for a change or loss. It can simultaneously be a sense of relief, hope, or peace. Grief is the CONFLICTING feelings that occur when there’s a change in a familiar pattern of behavior — when what was, isn’t.

Grief is entirely unique.
Grief is natural and normal.
Grief is the WHOLE response to loss.
Grief includes emotional, somatic or physical, cognitive or thought process, and spiritual or existential responses.

The acute phase of grief is followed by a mourning process, and grief naturally integrates into life. Acute feelings and other components of grief are often intense. All feelings are okay. There’s no time frame, yet there seems to be this societal time limit, which can be confusing and isolating.

Sometimes grief is complicated & blocked. When incomplete and unresolved, over time it can drain our energy, keeping us in the past or future.

Healthy grieving takes work, and the choice to feel every aspect of grief’s pain. If there was an easier way, it would be making someone very rich! I wish I could say there’s a quick fix.

If you’re uncertain about whether your grieving process is normal, consult a healthcare professional. Outside help is sometimes beneficial to people trying to recover and adjust to a death, divorce, infertility, moving, betrayal, change in social scene, diagnosis of terminal illness or even positive change.

You aren’t alone. ❤️

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