Unacknowledged grief is still grief. Grief healing begins with awareness and acknowledgment of that sadness, that pain, and grief. Sometimes we might find ourselves surprised by the grief that we feel. That can make grieving something we try to deny or ignore and yet it’s happening. Grief healing requires acknowledgment and awareness. Grief must be felt in order to begin to heal.
When we are grieving the death of someone we can find ourselves struggling with even considering grief healing. Again and again, we might find ourselves asking, is it really possible to heal a relationship after death? Is it inevitable that the grief will go on forever?
Years ago, someone, that I loved died.
We didn’t have what most would consider a healthy relationship while they had a heartbeat.
We both tried in our own way. I truly believe it’s something that we both wanted very much. And yet, we were awkward, clumsy and one could say, for the most part estranged.
When he died, I hurt much more than I expected. Because our difficult relationship was known by most, there was almost no support. The simple truth is that those who might have been grief supporters most likely surmised that I was feeling relieved and nothing more.
Most never acknowledged his death in any way at all.
To be fair, I realize that most had no idea that I was hurting. This was and is totally on me. I didn’t ask for support from anyone. The fact that this loss, this potential for grief and pain was not even mentioned by most was another layer of wounding.
Naturally enough, this causes me to ponder and even question my feelings.
– What was I grieving?
– WHY was I grieving?
– Were my feelings valid?
– Did I just need to suck it up and live with a relationship that would forever be incomplete?
The more I thought about it, truly feeling my way through, the more determined I was to heal the hurt in this relationship.
To build something that healed my heart and allowed us to be more to one another. Not knowing at all what that might look or feel like.
And so, it began.
This was a grief journey that I felt I was taking in a very private way. For myself.
The truth is that now, so very many years along the path, the relationship feels good.
A lot of forgiveness work was done – forgiveness for both of us. Grieving and healing.
The lack of a close, loving relationship was not entirely his fault nor mine, we both did the best we could with what we knew at the time. And yes, we both made mistakes. A lot of mistakes.
Forgiving both of us took a lot of work, and it’s totally been worth it as so much grief healing has happened over time.
When I have a chat with him now, I trust that he hears me and responds in his own way, from The Other Side. There might be the smell of the pipe tobacco he smoked, or a song on the radio that I know is sent from him. Often it’s simply a knowing that we are and always will be connected.
It feels good. Truly, I feel as though we are much closer than we ever were while he walked the planet and breathed air.
The work that I have done has helped me to understand how much we are alike and always were. This understanding has helped me to shift so much disappointment to compassion. Again, for both of us.
This is growth. This is grieving and grief healing.
When I work with grief clients, part of our work is to connect once again with their loved ones on The Other Side.
– It is about acknowledging wounds and getting them out there without assigning blame. Responsibility, not blame.
– Expressing ALL of the emotions that need to be shared, in safe healthy ways.Because that’s when healing happens. That’s when grieving hearts heal.I’m truly grateful for the work that I’ve done regarding this important relationship and you can be assured that this grief work will continue. Because the relationship I have with him is now one that I appreciate and look forward to continuing forever.
‘Death ends a life, not a relationship’ ~ Jack Lemmon