Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Acknowledging the Grief Experience

Of all the experiences of life, the loneliness and fatigue involved in grief – in a vital period of life readjustment – is unparalleled in its pain.
Rarely, if ever, does one human being escape the grief experience over the lifespan. Everyone grieves. From losses of grand magnitude down to the simple losses of readjustment, life throws us into a tailspin in disordered ways at such unpredictable times. We are blindsided by the experience of life we never expected, and grief moves in, as if a permanent, yet unwelcome, guest. And when this occurs our tenant lives with us much longer, at times, than we wish him to.
All this guest requires of us, however, is the acknowledgement of his presence.
Grief is real and as soon as we take it seriously we are gifted the wherewithal to approach and travel with our pain.
Travelling with Our Pain
Nobody really enjoys the experience of pain, just as nobody really enjoys having their life interrupted by something incredibly sad – something totally unwanted. We rally in anger for the injustice of loss and attempt to bargain our way out of it. When we realise none of our interventions work we land in the valley of depression.
All of the typical responses to grief are characterised by denial. Yet the key to making the best of a woeful situation is to acknowledge it; it is our truth just now.
One method that works is to travel with our pain, acknowledging it as a seasonal guest; one we must accept is part of our lives now. When we accept such a thing, somehow the pain diminishes a little, and we can bear it because we know that God is with us.
Travelling with our pain is simply empathising with ourselves as if a caring friend would – and it is all the better for us if we can experience divine empathy – the empathy of God that we experience as a soul gentleness and compassion.
Acknowledgement of the grief experience is an important validation. It releases the brakes that life has placed on our emotional and spiritual wellbeing. It’s okay that we struggle for a time in adjusting to the new scenario of life. It’s okay because we don’t have a choice, so it needs to be okay.
Acknowledgement of the grief experience is the receipt of God’s grace. This is when we know God’s power within us in a very real way. In simply being honest we are gifted space and freedom in simply accepting our world as it now is. Our world as it now is won’t remain this way – for it will get better – but acceptance is all we need right now.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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