Everyone grieves. We are humans having a multitude of human experiences; consequently, we sustain losses. There will be moments
for each of us where we will find ourself saying, “This wasn’t supposed to happen” or “What will it take for me to survive this?” Most
people in American society think of grieving as something we do only around the loss of a person, or even a pet. Yet by now, most
people have at least heard of the Five Stages of Grief, popularized by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross: denial, anger, bargaining, depression,
& acceptance. Therefore, there is more of an understanding that grief has rhythms, and cycles back around when we least expect it.
“You will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken,
and the bad news is that you never completely get over the loss of your beloved.
But this is also the good news. They live forever in your broken heart that doesn’t seal back up.
And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly—
that still hurts when the weather gets cold, but you learn to dance with the limp.”
However, Americans are rarely taught in their families how to deal with loss.
Frankly, there is a lack of awareness around all the ways we actually experience
loss and the consequent need to grieve and heal in order to move on in our lives.
And all too often, funerals are not comforting, and there is no ritual marking for
the transitions we are forced to make. As an intuitive bodyworker, I can absolutely
share from experience, that the pain and sorrow, and the body’s inclination to grieve
and cry to release that pain, is the same with a death as it is with the many disguises
loss can wear. The physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual bodies feel the exact
same energetic responses around any number of major losses that translate as deep
pain, despair, and the unresolved sense of being lost. Choosing to deny these feelings,
damages our immune system, causes recurring emotional difficulties, and keeps us in
losing one's home
losing our insurance
disconnection from core beliefs
diagnosis of a terminal illness
diminishing of income
a deep friendship ending
not having a good childhood
life not turning out as we thought
victim of violence
Every aspect of human experience that we mistakenly perceive we can control, has the possibility to cause disappointment, loss, misfortune, and suffering. It is the human condition. We risk loss every time we love. As Elisabeth Kübler-Ross says, “Dying is
something we human beings do continuously, not just at the end of our physical lives on this earth.” Look at the lists below:
it is a compilation of the many ways in a fraction of a moment, we can suddenly be swept into deep emotional turmoil and loss.
The loss of an animal companion leaves a deeply painful void. I wrote about it in my book, PEOPLE I SLEEP WITH. An animal companion often shares our daily lives in ways no human can. Their love for us, without exception, is one of the purest heart exchanges we can ever experience. The depth of our grief over losing our pet can trigger other unfelt losses. Sometimes it is easier to cry over a lost animal friend than a broken marriage, an unfulfilled life, or a parent’s death. And so these creatures give us one more precious gift—a parting one--
the opportunity to break our heart open to a deeper place inside of ourselves than we have ever been.
As Suzanne Clothier writes in Bones Would Rain From The Sky: “There is a cycle of love and death that shapes the lives of those who choose to travel in the company of animals. It is a cycle unlike any other. To those who have never lived through its turnings or walked its rocky path, our willingness to give our hearts with full knowledge that they will be broken seems incomprehensible. Only we know how small a price we pay for what we receive; our grief, no matter how powerful it may be, is an insufficient measure of the joy we have been given.”
People grieve until they are finished. And if they grieve correctly, they are always changed by these tasks of mourning. And . . . we
MUST mourn these losses, in order to restore our equilibrium, to re-establish our inner feelings of safety, and to re-embrace Life.
Just when we think we have made it through to the other side, some reminder or trigger may spiral us back around into a memory.
The good news is that after some years, those memory reminders are not so crushing. In fact, they can be joyous, as we sense how
we have truly survived the insurmountable. Many years after my mother died, I walked into a funky old, creaky-floored, small grocery store in Santa Barbara to buy some bottled water. The song that came on instantly over the sound system there, was “Our Day Will
Come” by Ruby and the Romantics, what we had called our ‘theme song’ for years. I began to cry, but it was joyful, because I felt her energy . . . right there.
“The reality is you will grieve forever. You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one;
you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you
have suffered. You will be whole again, but you will never be the same, nor should you be.”
I had my own notion of grief.
I thought it was the sad time
That followed the death of
someone you love.
And you just push through it
To get to the other side.
But I’m learning there is no other side.
There is no pushing through.
There is absorption.
And grief is not something you complete,
But rather, you endure.
Grief is not a task to finish
And move on,
But an element of yourself —
An alteration of your being.
A new way of seeing.
A new definition of self.
Jill may be contacted if you need help in your process:
firstname.lastname@example.org / 505.988.9147