“Be not afraid of going slowly; be afraid only of standing still.”
~ Chinese Proverb
No matter what time of year it is, something can happen to cause grief. And not just grief from death. What about the grief felt from a dramatic life change? Loss of a job. Loss of a relationship (separation or divorce). Loss of money. An unexpected illness. A diagnosis which results in caregiving for a loved one. Anything to turn your life upside down. Grief at its best.
I felt the need to shed light on the grief process as a reminder of how individual grief is to every human being. Our culture is filled with instant gratification which pushes us to keep moving forward so we “Get over it already”. “Hurry up”. “You’re going too slow”. We are used to this way of being, we forget how lost one feels when grief strikes, and we simply cannot move on.
Get over it! Are you kidding me? Based on society’s way of thinking, we are expected to feel better immediately and get back to living.
It’s interesting to note in other areas of life going slow is acceptable. Savoring the slow process of cooking, waiting painstakingly for a delicious meal to cook at the right temperature for our delight and enjoyment.
Parents are taking a slower approach with their children being very conscious and deliberate about not overbooking their schedules. Taking time to slow down and enjoy the simple act of being together.
With grief, we have no patience with ourselves or each other. How is that possible? Is it possible because feelings get messy? Feelings get ugly? Feelings make us vulnerable? And as we feel emotions we are uncomfortable.
Grief is a slow process. There is no right or wrong timeframe for how long it takes one to grieve.
The only thing which can make any difference in how we grieve is to keep moving forward. Standing still, avoiding, denying or pretending our feelings away will only cause more heartache.
It is important to remember the truth about grief. It is a normal and natural response to loss as much as love is. We are more receptive to acknowledging love as a normal process since it feels good. Grief on the other hand, can cut like a knife and shake you to your core. That’s painful and hard to accept.
Grief is messy. When you acknowledge the pain and step back, you can stop being hard on yourself.
When there are those around you who act impatient or feel that you should be “over it”, well maybe you need to find a little distance between you and those people. Love them from afar for a short time. Grieving takes time and you need to take care of yourself in such a way so you feel supported and loved as you mourn. When you feel better, it will be obvious to others and you are more apt to accept those with kindness and strength when they impose a “get over it” philosophy.
It is important to understand grief. We need not be afraid of the time involved to grieve nor should we feel the need to rush it. You are never standing still when you actively move through your grief by facing the pain slowly.
Today is a reminder of what matters most. To move through grief however long it may take. Pushing to “get over it”, denying feelings or stuffing emotions down because others may be uncomfortable, or even creating isolation is a recipe that does not work.
Everyone is dealing with something. Grief takes time and is a process. Be gentle with yourself and allow the kindness in your heart to embrace others with understanding and acceptance for what they might be going through. We all stand to gain from helping one another.
We will face grief in our lives. May those days be few for you but when it happens may you go slow, lean on others and move through the pain to the other side.