Giving Space to Grieve
One of the drawbacks i see in our societal structure is we don't have a space for grief. When we are faced with loss, whether loss of an idea, a position, a major transition or loss of a loved one many times we are told: "Don't worry", It's going to be okay" "Try to get on with your life", "you'll be alright". If we are not told this perhaps we have the uncomfortable experience of not being looked at in the eye, of avoiding the loss; especially if illness or death is involved. For most the message is clear - Get over it, and soon so friends and family can feel more comfortable. The message is hurry up and grieve, hopefully only a month or two, maybe six months at the most and then join life again the same way you did before the loss. This message and ultimately this belief system causes us stress- distress of the body and mind. We are taught to "steel" ourselves away and create a barrier to our emotions and feelings. We are taught tacitly to "tough it out and move on", and we begin to expect that of ourselves and each other.
As a society we are uncomfortable with loss and especially crossing over-death of the physical body. It reminds us of our limitations and that there is an aspect of life that is unknown and perhaps random. As a bereavement counselor and transpersonal therapist I recognize if we would keep a space open for loss and what it evokes in us there can be a deeper meaning in our life and new insight and understanding. This takes time, and for each the time of processing, understanding and grieving the loss is different. And, even in processing and making space for the loss this doesn't mean it ends. We all grieve our loss's in bits, in remembrances, and memories that are triggered in our present time living.
If we are to have a space in our society for loss, this means we need to create a sense of support and structure of support in our society. This to me means we need to be able to acknowledge our losses and to talk about them without censoring ourselves or being censored. The very act of us speaking what is truly going on with us eases our stress or, more accurately distress at having to suppress our life process.
In some ways our losses makes us human. We are vulnerable. We love, we bond whether to an idea, a perception, a way of being, a job, career or position, and of course the highest bonding to a love one, be it an animal being or human being. And, yes, when we lose this connection, this bonding we experience loss, and we grieve... And, doesn't this make us a loving, compassionate a sentient human being. So it is natural to grieve, even healthy. Suppressing our grieve is not natural human nature or healthy. The best gift we can give ourselves or others in the grief process is to just be present to this sacred state.We can ask if anything is needed, we can suggest, we can support, but most importantly is to just be present.