When you consider healing your grief, what comes to mind for you?
Do you imagine a specific feeling? Do you expect that the way you look will shift? Or is it something different?
What if we believe things will develop one way and something else entirely shows up?
Is that alright?
As you might expect, I’ve got a story to share.
I love elephants, their look, strength, and devotion to one another, I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Several months ago I found this rather fabulous elephant head shelf and knew it needed to be in my living room. It made me silly happy to see it. Then I set out on a search to find what I felt was the perfect plant to sit on the shelf.
That plant felt perfect to me because of its structure. Somehow I felt very sure that as it grew, it would become wider, and taller, but retain its original shape and structure. This was my expectation.
But nature is teaching me a lesson, reminding me that we don’t always get what we expect. And sometimes what shows up is rather wonderful. This plant is sprouting all over the pot! Showing up lively and strong and I’m really loving it. It’s not what I expected – it’s very different.
Is it okay to consider that perhaps the grief journey, the process of healing might look different than we expect?
So very often we have expectations about what safe, healthy grieving will look like. We turn to experts, family, and or friends to learn what we should expect as we walk this path through grief into healing. They share with us what they know, and what they have experienced. That can be a truly meaningful gift.
At the same time, if our experience is different, we might consider that we are somehow grieving in a way that’s wrong. I want to encourage you to let that thought go!
Your relationship with the one you are grieving is unique and so is your grief and healing journey. Even when you are walking the same path as others, there are going to be some differences. Times when they will rest, and you will forge ahead. Occasions when you will be treading deliberately and carefully as you traverse rugged terrain, while it seems that others are simply strolling along.
All of this is natural and normal.
More than anything, I want to encourage you to be open to the possibility that healing may look and feel different than you expect. Is it okay if you feel lighter? Is it okay if you call up a memory and feel joy?
Your path may take turns that were never even imagined. Perhaps you meet people along the way who settle into your heart and bring companionship that makes your life rich and meaningful.
Today, I want to encourage you to hold space for the unexpected that feels good.