Grief is the medicine that helps us to heal from the wounds of change and loss. When grief surfaces, whether it be sadness, anger, bargaining, depression or denial, surrender to its healing balm. It is only in surrendering to grief that we are able to find the new life waiting to be revealed.
Today my thoughts turn to grief. Grief is the healing process given to us by the Divine to help us recover from the loss and change that are all part of the human condition, and helps to prepare us for the new life waiting to be revealed. While the process of grief is never pleasant, it is only in surrendering to this process that we can find healing, release and the freedom to step into the new. Grief is a journey unique to each individual, yet we all share the same faces of grief, in varying degrees and manifestations.
Rage or Anger as part of the grieving process allows us to purge those parts of the dying situation, relationship or experience that were not and are no longer life-giving. Anger allows us to tap into those pieces within ourselves that need to be transformed into something new. For example, if co-dependency was part of my role in a dying relationship, anger may surface related to situations where I indulged my own co-dependency. This surfacing of anger allows me to examine the parts of co-dependency that need to be released from within me so that I can be open to something new. Anger can also serve as a sort of defense mechanism, protecting us from the hurts of the loss that we are not yet ready to face.
Denial – Denial serves as a form of deep protection. If we do not face the loss or the death, then we do not have to be affected by the pain of that loss. Denial is our companion until we are ready to be touched by the pain of loss and enter into the process of release and transformation.
Bargaining is a close friend to denial. Bargaining allows us to cling to the hope of avoiding the loss. In bargaining we rationalize, justify and make exchanges for what we know on some level really needs to end. Bargaining can surface in the form of these kinds of phrases, “He really is a good provider.” “What if we try this next medication?” “I promise I will try harder.” Bargaining allows us to hold the pending death or loss at bay until we are ready to face the hard and difficult truth.
Depression – Depression in the process of grief (not to be confused with clinical depression which is something else all together)serves two functions. It is frequently said that depression is anger turned inward. This is especially true in the process of grief. When we are afraid of our anger, or have been told that it is not ok to be angry, instead of embracing the anger as it surfaces, we repress and suppress it. Denying the healing properties of anger does not help us, but harms us as the anger is contained within. Suppression of anger eventually turns into depression. We find ourselves paralyzed, trapped and unable to move forward through the grieving process. Depression in this form stalls the grieving process. Depression when it is part of the grieving process can also serve to give us the necessary time we need to really integrate the loss. Depression is like pressing pause on a cassette player. It gives us the opportunity to retreat to a place of silent solitude. It is in this place of guarded silence that the deep inner work of healing can take place. It is in this place of dark mystery that the miracles of the healing process can take root and begin to grow. When we start to feel anger again, that is a sure sign that the depression stage is ready to let go so that active healing can resume.
Sadness Sadness, tears, active grieving, mourning and wailing are all part of the sadness of grief. We need to shed the tears of loss in order to be healed. We need to grieve the pain of loss. We need to join with our brothers and sisters who have or are also experiencing loss give movement to the deep sadness within. Crying, wailing and weeping are all active and beneficial tools of healing.
The invitation as we face the deaths, losses and changes in our lives is to be open to the process of grief – with all its mysterious faces and manifestations. It is only in surrendering to and engaging in the process of grief that we can find the healing that we need to embrace the new life that is waiting to be revealed. While death and loss are never pleasant, we are reminded of the Divine promise that out of every death comes new life. Can we be open to the new life that is waiting to be revealed?
Authentic Freedom Ministries