As I continue on my healing journey, I am learning lessons on love and loss.
As I mentioned in my last post, I feel grief is the death of hope. It’s the loss of the loved one, the dream, the life you hoped for.
Grief sucks. Grief produces a trauma all of its own. You can feel its physical affects.
But the more healing work I do, the more I realize that although grief produces trauma, trauma also produces grief.Read that again: In my humble opinion, grief produces trauma, and trauma produces grief. #Grief #Trauma #Healing #SarahStrong Click To Tweet
No wonder we feel stuck.
How many times have we heard – or even thought – why can’t he get over it? Why can’t she move forward? We wonder why a grief-stricken person can’t seem to get over grief.
The answer to that question is really quite simple – we can’t get over grief, we can’t go around grief, we have to go through grief. And it sucks, because it hurts.
In our western culture, we may get a few days of bereavement leave, and then it’s life as usual. We either choke back the emotion, or worse – stuff it down – and try to get back to normal. We are afraid to let our emotions flow in public. We’re afraid if we do, others think we are participating in a never-ending pity party.
But… we aren’t.
There is no timeline for grief. And let’s face it, grief isn’t just about death, though that one is a biggie because of the finality.
Grief produces a trauma, and the trauma produces a grief. Whether it is the loss of a life, loss of a limb, loss of a relationship, loss of a job, loss of health, loss of a home or loss of a lifestyle or a life’s savings, the loss is profound, and it all goes back the loss of what we thought life would look like. So, how does one get over that? Especially when you feel like you can’t express your loss?
Just the other day, I ran to Target. It’s my happy place. I don’t know why – maybe because I can get a cappuccino and lose myself in aisles and aisles of stuff. I love the challenge of finding cool stuff on the clearance racks and just the bright lighting inside of the store makes up for the lack of sun in the midst of a dreary winter day.
I pushed my cart through the arts and craft aisle and immediately thought, “Sarah would love this!” and then the gut punch of her loss derailed me. I composed myself, got in line, and felt relief that the line was short, so it would move quickly.
But it didn’t. The cashier was engaged with the mother, daughter and granddaughter in front of me. They were talking about keeping their Christmas lights on until the end of January, because it helps with the mid-winter gloom.
I chimed in. “Me, too. Our lights are up. But now they aren’t Christmas lights, they are “Sarah lights” in honor of my granddaughter who died at the beginning of December and she would have been thirteen last Friday and the lights are an angel and the colors for #MyocardistisAwareness and ….” Honest to God, I don’t know what else I said.
Here I am, tears rolling down my face, babbling on and on and on, and now instead of just me crying, so were three others.
I started berating myself. “What the f*ck is wrong with you, Lynne? Why the f*ck did you open your mouth? What the f*ck are they thinking? Great, now you made a bunch of strangers cry. Why can’t you keep your $hit together????”
The self-berating went on, all the way home and the rest of the day.
Why? Why would I beat myself up about being grief-stricken? Obviously, I needed the cleansing tears. Obviously, I had no intention of making others uncomfortable.
So why didn’t I allow myself that moment to just let go? Why did I beat myself up?
Grief produces trauma, and trauma produces grief.
And what is grief? The death of hope. The death of dreams.
In our society, are we ever taught how to deal with death – the loss of hope and dreams? More importantly, are we ever taught how to deal with our feelings in regards to the loss of hope and dreams?
As I took the rest of that day for self-care, self-reflection and shedding the tears that needed to be shed, I came to a really painful – yet profound – connection that will help in my healing journey: I berated myself for feeling my feelings, because somewhere along the way, my programming said I couldn’t allow myself to feel those feelings. My guess would be, because I had to keep my childhood abuser’s sexual abuse of me a secret – due to the threats I received. Due to fear, I learned that I couldn’t express myself.So, due to fear, I have a hard time expressing my feelings of grief. Fear of judgment by others and myself. #grief #fear #trauma Click To Tweet
When you start to dig deep into grief, it’s amazing what comes up. And the only way to heal, is to feel.
I promised myself I will no longer berate myself for feeling. If I cry in public, then I cry in public. The healing tears are the only way to honor the grief and heal the trauma. And, the healing tears are the only why to honor the trauma, and heal the grief. I give myself permission to heal.
The tears will loosen what is stuck inside – both the trauma and the grief – and by doing this, I will navigate through the grief, instead of going around it. I will navigate the trauma, instead of going around it. And somehow, feeling “it” will be healing “it.” While it sounds painful, once these wounds are cleansed through tears, they won’t be gaping open. They will heal up, scab up and scar up. And by the grace of God, life will continue on.
© Lynne Cobb – 2020
How do you handle grief? Can you connect it to an early trauma? Leave a comment below.
6 Replies to “Love, loss and life lessons”
This is a beautiful article of grief and its effects. Thank you for taking the time to write about this subject. Many people have trouble handling grief and I think your writing will help all who are feeling it. Thank you for bearing your personal battle with grief for all to understand.
Thanks Bob. I hope it helps others, too. So many times we hear “feel the feelings” but then what? Hopefully this piece helps answer that ❤
Lynne, please find comfort in knowing that you’re helping many other people cope with their own grieving through your writing, and willingness to share.
It never ceases to amaze me, when I look around every day, at how many people are grieving a loss — and trying to go about the business of daily life, shopping at Target, making dinner, hoping to get back to normal. We all need to be reminded that we don’t know always know what someone else might be going through.
By sharing your pain in the checkout line, you’ve reminded us all that we need to practice kindness, and listen to others, and watch for those who need comfort.
Thank you so much, Cindy. Grief, especially in this situation, is so hard to navigate.
Lynne, I’m glad you realized that it was wrong to beat yourself up for spilling out your heart. In my life, I’ve discovered that I need to do just as you did; talk about the person I lost to whoever was around. And I continue to do this even after many years (29 years for my brother; 20 for my dad; 13 for my mom). You are right that we need to go through the grief; it can’t be ignored. And grief is the price we pay for love; the more you love someone, the more you grieve the loss. Keep telling yourself it’s okay to express the grief and in time, the pain will lessen, though it will never completely go away. Praying for you.
Thank you, Denise.