The existential crisis of ages past, present, and to come is that we are assuredly those who will face tragedy and death. We experience grief when we lose loved ones, family members, lovers, friends, and anyone we connect with. We also experience grief because of trauma, relationships gone awry, life transitions, and in a variety of other ways. Grief is a valid response to loss. We experience sorrow when we lose what we thought would be accessible to us for years to come and when we no longer have physical access to the people we love. Grief is a legitimate and normative experience that is universal yet unique to each person.
Let the waves come.
We may experience grief in waves, where we experience sorrow, anger, and tears in an unexpected “come and go” fashion. One wave of grief may be felt but not invasive, whereas others may be experienced as overwhelming and like a flood. Waves of grief are not static or constant. This is seemingly due to our bodies being unable to always experience the full weight of grief. Thus, we experience waves of somatic grief (bodily sensations) at unexpected times. Allow the waves to come as they do, even if it feels like an interruption.
We can grow in the capacity to practice not being afraid to dip down into grief and identify death’s permanence. There is an option to engage in a willingness to be odd and eclectic in your grief. The way you grieve will not look the same as others will grieve. Others around you may critique how you engage with your story and pain. Yet, it is key for us to be nonjudgemental and to extend permission to ourselves to move through seemingly paradoxical emotions. You can do what you feel is needed to move through your grief of loss. The key is to embody your grief. Be tender with the wide expanse of your emotions when experiencing loss.
Some Ideas To Engage With Grief
We may blockade ourselves from experiencing grief sometimes due to the fear that grief will take us under and we will never get out, as it might feel like it’s “too much.” With the imagery of grief like waves, you can enter the waters and get out as you feel fit. Yet we encourage you not to leave the beach. Listen to your body about what is going on and what you need.
Here are several things that might be helpful to move through your grief:
- Write a note to your loved one
- Talk to your loved one
- Do things you used to do with your loved one on your own
- Let the tears roll down your cheeks
- Understand and know your history with tears
- Get on the floor if the emotions feel weighty
- Go through items that belong to your loved one
- Rock back and forth
- Sway your limbs
- Rock hips while in a child’s pose
- Slow movement
Though we may not be able to engage in the relationship as we once did, we can hold fast to the truth that the relationship is not gone or obsolete. Time will not take away the grief, and we can still be attuned to our feelings and attachment, yet it will feel different. Your grief validates the importance of what was lost, and further meaning may unfold for you.
There is relief. Maybe it is not finite, but it is accessible in moments and periods in your journey. Slow down and “Let what feels trapped be released in a way in which you can continue to grieve but open the door to love” (Dr. Dan Allender).