Not one of us can walk through life without experiencing a loss. The loss of a mother, father, friend or child whether anticipated or unexpected creates an emotional wound. The end of a marriage can create a cause to mourn the loss of what was or could have been.
When grieving it may feel at times like you are holding your heart together with your hands. It may feel like no one could understand the depth of pain you are experiencing, the darkness, or the loneliness. It helps to know that there is no right way to mourn, and that you will be okay. Only time seems to soften the intense feelings that come with grief.
Profound sadness, anger, loss, and loneliness, guilt, regret, anxiety, fear, and ambivalence are all very common feelings to have when grieving. Feeling stuck and unable to function, empty and numb, the inability to eat or sleep or take interest in things that once held interest, and strange and/or disturbing dreams are all unsettling and very normal although they feel anything but. It can be hard to rationalize how such troubling afflictions are common. Take comfort in knowing that they are. Suffering a great loss is like an earthquake coming through your world, moving things from their foundation, shifting what was known and reliable.
It takes time to rebuild.
Processing feelings is incredibly important to heal and recover. Lack of crying does not mean that someone is not grieving. We all mourn differently. There is a great deal of emotional sorting to do after a great loss. Take the time necessary.
Even after significant time has passed, the most unexpected promptings, a sight, sound, or smell can bring a flood of memories back and make it feel like all progress has been undone. Be kind to yourself. Be patient. You are healing. You are rebuilding. This takes time but it is happening slowly within you.
At some point, you come to a bridge in the grieving process. It appears gradually, and it waits until you are ready to cross it. With it comes a softening of the edges, and forgiveness. On the other side of grief are many beautiful things, tenderness, understanding, compassion. These are the gifts that you will carry forward and give to others in their time of need.
If someone you love is traveling through this process, be patient and remember to not push. Love and gentle support is very important. If they are religious or open to the idea you may offer to pray with them. Oftentimes just being present, being together, can be immensely helpful. That doesn’t mean the air must be filled with conversation. Being present allows for the other to share when they are ready, to talk about their loss.
Sometimes a loved one gets stuck and needs a little help navigating the long path to acceptance. . Catholic Charities New Hampshire provides individual and family counseling, helping people through life’s challenges. Counseling services are provided by clinical social workers and mental health counselors licensed by the Board of Mental Health Practice of the State of New Hampshire.
Help is a phone call away. If you or a loved one could benefit from kind, nurturing support through counseling, call 800.562.5249.