Friday, October 18, 2013

When Grief Has Been Delayed

WHAT’S WITH delayed grief? It’s like when a decision has been taken to go a certain way in life – due to the wisdom of the day – particularly when most alternatives were to be avoided – and that way we chose has not worked out. It proved to be a bad decision.
But many bad decisions (as they work out to be) were made with the very best of intentions, with the information we had at hand at the time.
I know a woman who experienced delayed grief, and didn’t truly come to experience the sorrow and pain of an earlier life transition for about six years. That was some five years ago. She has since learned so much about herself.
She couldn’t open photo albums and never knew why. She would just deny that they even existed – no doubt as a mechanism of self-protection. But, as it has happened for her, in meeting her sweetheart – him having dealt with his own heartrending grief – he encouraged and challenged her to reconcile to the truth.
She had put off something very important.
Grief Won’t Take ‘No’ for An Answer
Grief will not negotiate beyond our denial to delay the whole process. Sure, we may be tempted to delay it all our lives, but there is a cost.
Perhaps there is no advantage in delaying grief, indeed there is probably a disadvantage. Saying ‘no’ to something that won’t take no for an answer is a variation of regretful folly, but at least grief honours us by beginning the journey when at last we enter the processes of truth.
In delaying grief, we betray our already shattered or tarnished identities. When our inner beings are screaming out for an overhaul, we are going against it, and going against it is doing not us or anyone else any good.
But delaying grief seems wise at the time. And Occasionally, just occasionally, it is actually wise to delay the grief – like, for instance, when we have to be there for others and we don’t have true scope to enter the sadness and be totally open to our vulnerabilities.
Notwithstanding, many people who undergo calamitous losses in life have no choice but to spiral into an abyss that takes no prisoners. There is no convenient delay.
Sometimes grief is delayed and sometimes it has to be delayed. Grief, however, is no flexible negotiator. It demands we feel its pain, though we may deny it for a time. Wisdom commends us to courage – to take the plunge and meet the truths of our realities.
© 2013 S. J. Wickham.

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