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SELF HELP SERIES: Good Grief!

Updated: Feb 1


CS Lewis, “The pain then is part of the happiness now,” from “Shadowlands.”


Grief is the most personal of the emotions. That is to say, one must grieve, it’s natural; BUT one must grieve alone. Often when someone close dies, there is an unbelieveable agony involved suffered by the remaining person. Take Mary, for example, at the foot of the cross. That’s agony. That’s grief. The outpouring of the soul, the longing for the deceased, the gut wrenching, soul searching for relief from the pain then. And there are many levels of grief, often hidden amongst joy. Take for example, the mom, who’s child goes off to college, or takes a job or searches for a career, off on their own. Good grief? But nonetheless, heart misses child, the child she bore and raised. Why do parents tear up waving goodby to their child after the wedding? Happiness and grief. Both must be dealt with, although we would much rather just skip the grief - Right?


What is grief but the adaptation of the soul to a loss, a loss of anything. Why grieve? Because we must. It's in our nature. Even our animal friends stand over deceased mates and cry out in the middle of the night. As CS Lewis pointed out, when God gave us Love, it came with a catch - grief. It’s grief that heralds the power of Love.


Familiarize yourself with the five stages of grief postulated by Kubler-Ross in her book, Death and Dying (1969): Denial - Anger - Bargaining - Depression - Acceptance.


But why? Why must we grieve alone. Sometimes, family and friends gather round to comfort the person’s loss. And that too is natural. But just as friends console, so must friends give the person space to grieve. A person must grieve alone. Give them appropriate space to grieve. It is a natural and necessary coping process, a right of passage. One must learn to let go.


Let me tell you a story to emphasize what I mean by one must grieve alone. A woman lost her dear lifelong spouse. It was late night a few nights after the officiant events. Her dear, dear friend pulled up in the driveway that night to comfort the woman. She saw her friend through the front window sobbing and grieving. Out of respect, she knew her friend’s need to grieve. The friend sat quietly All night in the car in the driveway, not disturbing the letting go that grief brings. She allowed her dear friend to get out her grief, to deal with the necessary anguish alone. What a friend.




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