Riding the Waves of Grief

“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not “get over’” the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you have suffered. You will be whole again but you will never be the same. Nor should you be the same nor would you want to.” ~Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

“Nothing that grieves us can be called little: by the eternal laws of proportion a child’s loss of a doll and a king’s loss of a crown are events of the same size.” ~Mark Twain

“We bereaved are not alone. We belong to the largest company in all the world—the company of those who have known suffering.” ~Helen Keller

Nothing reminds us of our losses more than the times of celebration with our families such as Christmas, Thanksgiving or special birthdays. These are times of fellowship, giving, receiving and festivity.

Whether we are suffering from the loss of a loved one, a divorce, a job loss, or loss of health we can find these times a painful reminder of our pain and its associated grief.

Waves of grief

Loss and the grief that accompanies it can be likened to waves in the ocean.

Sometimes it can wash over us with the intensity and destruction of a Tsunami leaving us lost in a wilderness of destruction, our life unrecognizable compared to what it once was. We can feel as if we have no footing and the safety of the shore is gone.

Other times it can feel like a Tidal Wave shattering our world yet leaving enough in shambles to clean up, repair and piece back together. We can find our footing eventually, but the ground is shaky and the comfort of familiarity is gone.

Then there are the losses that come in like rumbling waves big enough to knock us off our feet, take our breath away and leave us gasping for air. We can find our footing more quickly but remain shaken for a long time.

More often we can feel the gentle waves of grief from less significant losses, or losses we have taken time to mourn and heal from but which are remembered from time to time. They can splash against us and throw us off balance but we remain standing. They can wash over us and bring tears to our eyes, and they can still touch our hearts but not break our spirit.

We have two choices with grief in life: one is to ride with the waves and feel the full intensity with all the pain and suffering it entails without apology or shame. The other is to resist the waves, pushing against them with all our might only to weaken ourselves more and gain nothing in the end.

When the waves of grief come in, ride with them. Feel the wave fully. Be with your grief and flow with it without resistance. Eventually the shore will come, you will find your balance and the tide will subside.

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