Grief is Grief

There are or can be times when looking up to the clouds and wondering why, how when the pain of loss will end. There may be other times when a person feels as though they are grieving yet they have not heard of a death, nor have they attended a funeral of late. The feelings of loss surround, the feelings of profound sadness penetrate the soul as though a dear friend or relation has died. Grief is grief and often we see it in many dimensions while living in this life; and many times the face of grief will find us unaware and knock us off our feet with the sweeping feelings of heartache.
“Grief is a multi-faceted response to loss, particularly to the loss of someone or something to which a bond was formed. Although conventionally focused on the emotional response to loss, it also has physical, cognitive, behavioral, social, and philosophical dimensions. While the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement refers to the state of loss, and grief is the reaction to loss.”

I can remember speaking or counseling people in Nursing homes many years ago, when their loved ones were just down the hallways in beds… as they described the above definition yet wondered why they felt as they did when their loved one was alive, was able to be touched, to be talked to. They described grief to a “T” yet were amazed when I suggested that they were grieving by inches, they were grieving the “way things were, the way things used to be, the way things had been”, and that they were now grieving for the person that had been and for their loss daily.  I had done the same thing when working with parents of children who were dying as they no longer were able to play, to take advantage of their days and enjoyment as children should be able to, and parents watched as they slowly or quickly became sicker and they grieved daily yet were caught up in the tasks of doing and being caregivers yet they were grieving by inches daily.

We see this with those who are chronically ill, those who suffer each day and have no way to schedule fun time or to plan ahead as they don’t know how they will feel or what they will be able to do. They too grieve how they used to be and what they used to be able to do as their lives at times gets smaller and abilities are lessened by illness or pain.

There is also grief caused by those who do misdeeds, and I have counseled many who have seen me wondering if they are losing their minds as a result of the heartaches of loved ones who make bad choices. I have listened to the stories, bared witness to the sadness and the tears, only to determine that those people too were grieving. They were grieving the loss of dreams, of hopes for another, of love and desire and foundations built solidly for a family member, a child who then put themselves in harms way by actively selecting the wrong friends the wrong situations or the wrong path. The ones who exhibited signs and symptoms of grief had no idea that grief was what they were experiencing felt better knowing that they had a name for it, as they indeed were saying everything that one says when a person dies that they had loved. “They missed the person, longed for how things used to be, were devastated, felt betrayed, were not sleeping, depressed, angry, in denial”.  Grief can come into a life when the loss is overwhelming, the shock more than the system can handle, by inches by storm.

GRIEF/LOSS happens in front of our eyes and often doesn’t involve physical death and it is complicated.

We see it when we watch those around us, the choices they make, or situations and associations lead to devastation in a heart beat and lives are destroyed. Hopes dreams foundations destroyed and we find ourselves standing among ashes and wondering how this happened and the feelings that overwhelm the senses are hard to decipher. Those feelings are grief, loss, heartache akin to a death.
Unexpected and often hard to cope with as the person or persons are still alive and with us, yet it “feels” like a sudden and traumatic loss has occurred, leaving one breathless and uncertain of the next steps and their is work to do in order to heal.
is a process, it takes work, it often will bring up every other loss that has ever been experienced if not resolved from the past. 
The difference is; if one is alive who has caused such pain of loss there is always an opportunity to talk, to insist on talking in healing and or resolution or final so longs. WE have this day, this is a day for all to say belongs to you and you alone to recognize signs and symptoms of your pain of loss, your grief, to seek help if you need it want it or choose it.
It can be empowering to recognize feelings, thoughts for what they are, to then own those feelings and move through them mindfully.
Keep what is worth keeping and let the rest sift through you like a person holding sand in their hand… It is hard work, but you are worth it.

Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and her exquisite five stages of grief from so long ago are still appropriate today: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance   …. many will go through these stages, not in a linear motion, not in any particular order, but they will visit back and forth and random orders as they work through the pain of loss and of their grief. Each stage is and does serve its purpose for the body, the mind, the spirit and soul in defenses in coping abilities and in strength at a particular time and space, and we continue to thank her for her passion of people and her grace.
Yes, grief can be welcomed at times when it helps to understand what it is you are feeling inside of yourself even though never wanted nor welcomed.  
The real shame is when that grief is brought on by the actions or behaviors of others into your heart because you have loved, and you find you are grieving and no one knows.
The fire is burning for those who find that grief is within, may you find the strength to work through the pain you are experiencing and look to hope to heal.

May the Creator touch your shoulder gently today as you
Walk in Beauty along your path


7 comments on “Grief is Grief

  1. hellooo.p.s. to Sandy .. prayers andmore prayers being sent on the wings of all angels for you and your precious babe.. ♥A.

  2. helloooooowow … and wow again,,I empathize with you Sandy, and your words ring clear and true. Grief comes in so many forms and the feelings are that of pure despair at times.. I'm thinking that we all have been dealt a dose of grief at one time or another in our lives, and as Dr, Sherry says so eloquently, it takes a lot of very hard work to process and move forward.. it seems to be a vicious cycle, a never ending task to get a handle on our feelings and be positive and productive.. I yearn deeply for the days of long ago .. when my heart was whole, my spirit bright and intact , when grief was still a stranger to me.. one thing is clear to me, grief will and does forever change who you are, or rather who you were, you can not go back and the only option is to work to choose to move forward.. to choose to attempt to rebuild your soul to makeshift happiness.. acceptance comes in knowing that it's okay to feel the pain, anger and despair.. feeling is living and breathing and finding the good and the hope in believing life is good.. I find myself counting my blessings, as scarce as they may seem on some days, and wrapping my heart around my memories.. it helps and it gets a bit easier with practice..yep.. lots to think about written here today.. Thank you Doc, for all you continue to do for so many of us ..peace and serenity I wish for all..hugging my angels, sign me, ♥ A.

  3. Thank you Dr. Sherry, Coming here tonight to ask for prayers for my great Grand Baby Peyton, in Georgia. We have been holding him in prayers for some time now. Today he had a very serious seizure that lasted over 30 minutes and he is not doing well tonight. He was again taken to Children's Hospital by EMS and they are running another host of tests. His seizure meds are not controlling his seizure. His family is very worried. He just turned 1 years old a few weeks ago. Please pray for Peyton, his parents and the doctors. Thank you /Sandy

  4. GREAT blog. I talk a lot in my chronic illness group about grieving when one is chronically ill…because we have to grieve and move forward on what we have lost. As always great words Sher….hugs

  5. Prayers goin up for you Sandy and those you have mentioned at DMC …

  6. Thank you Dr. Sherry for your words. Grief is so very difficult. I have gone there still there for the loss of those who I love and have lost. Right now I feel grief as we are going through job reduction at work and two good friends have been let go in the last month. I am told that our department will lose another person soon. I pray I can keep my job. After 32 years it is heart wrenching to think they could just let me go due to job reduction and I have seen it done. The last two had worked here 27 and 16 years. Just eliminating their position. My good friend here just announced her retirement on Monday and I am grieving over this. We work closely together and I will miss her terribly. So, as you said, it is not always loss of someone by death but greif comes in many forms. Wish you all well. /Sandy♥

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