“And once the storm is over you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, in fact, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person that walked in.” —Author Unknown
Can I ask you a question?
If you were to burn your arm what would you do?
I know I know…. the answer is obvious. You would do what the doctor recommended which might be to take an antibiotic to ward off infection, change the bandage periodically, clean the area and cover it with ointment keep it clean and dry, etc. That makes sense, doesn’t it? You would treat this wound with the utmost of care until your arm was healed.
Well, grief can be likened to a wound and although there is no physical bandage to take on and off, our bodies, physically, emotionally and spiritually have been wounded and it is now our job to tend to these wounds.
This is what I refer to as making space and finding a place to grieve. Your heart has suffered a huge loss and one that is permanent. A wound that has caused a life altering situation that only you can know the depths of the pain that you feel from it and most likely may now have no idea how to handle it.
Making space for grief is a way to deal with your pain. If you look around your home, I’m sure there is favorite spot or two that holds special meaning for you. Maybe it’s a brightly lit front porch or an oversized chair with a cozy blanket or an entire room (possibly your bedroom) that is a quiet spot for you to light a candle, read a book, listen to music or just relax. Maybe sitting on the front steps of your home or if you need to step away, maybe there’s a favorite park or a sand chair that you keep in the trunk of your car for you to take out and sit by the water. It doesn’t matter what space you choose only that you find a place that is special to you.
The point that I am trying to make to you is that in order to ease the pain of grief, you must face it and allow your feelings and emotions to come out.
Gentle ways for you to do this:
- Set aside 15 minutes each day. Just a short amount of time. Nothing more. Set a timer so that you know when the time is up.
- Go to your favorite spot. This may seem scary at first, but the intent here is to focus on your grief for a short time and sit with it.
- Surround yourself with things that you love. This is a place that you will return to again and again, so make it appealing to all that you enjoy: a candle, music, photos, journal, etc.
- Allow yourself to just be. This is your time to be with your loss. At first you may be frightened and not want to feel anything. That’s okay, your home and whatever special place you choose is a safe haven and every day that you allow yourself a few moments to feel your pain, you will eventually feel a little better.
- Focus on your loss. For this short time, put all your energy into feeling the pain. Maybe you will cry for 15 minutes; Listen to all the favorite music you shared with your partner; write a letter in your journal to your loved one telling them how much you miss them; look through old photos. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable in the moment to do. Even if that means you just sit quiet
Stop when your 15 minutes is up. This is very important. Once the time has ended, get up and leave the space. Go do something else. Call a friend, go shopping, by a bunch of flowers, get out of the house, go for a drive. You have faced your grief for today and that is enough.
Making space for grief is all about healing and allowing your feelings to surface. There is no closure to grief in the sense that once it’s done, it’s over, that’s it. You will carry your grief always in a pocket of your heart. Facing your pain intently and gradually allows you to feel the heartache over the loss as well as recalling all the joy of having had the relationship to begin with.
We learn to manage our grief only by dealing with it. Giving ourselves permission to feel the pain and loss is addressing the wound. Over time, that wound will heal and we are left with an ache in our heart but one that will not hurt as profoundly as it used to. A loss that we will one day look upon with kind eyes and with much joy for having shared the experience of love.