Grief is unavoidable. It will come to us at some time in our lives. We may anticipate it, as in the case of a loved one with a terminal illness. But many times, grief is sudden and unexpected, an unwelcome intrusion, an uncomfortable guest.
The most fundamental truth about grief is this: we grieve because we love. Love and grief are inextricably linked. Queen Elizabeth II said, “Grief is the price we pay for love.” The greater our love, the deeper and more profound our grief.
The cause of our grief can vary greatly. It might be the death of someone close; the loss of an important relationship; the termination of meaningful employment; a shift in well being; a deterioration in health; a change in financial status; a move to a different region.
Whatever the cause, we need to approach grief respectfully and manage our sorrow responsibly. If we do not learn how to grieve well, it can cause problems emotionally and physically.
Some people are reluctant to confront their grief. They are fearful that if they open the door they will drown in a flood of tears or rage.
Learning how to grieve is one of life’s most important skills. I have found the following 23 insights beneficial in helping me grieve well.
- Grief is not an illness you get over. It is a life long journey.
Dr Kenneth J. Doka Grief is a Journey
- Grief is an emotional experience of painful loss. That loss never ceases to be loss in this world.
- When a person moves into the world of grief, he or she enters a world of unpredictability, chaos and pain.
H. Norman Wright Experiencing the Loss of a Family Member
- Grief is a solitary task. You work at it alone, or with those few companions of your deliberate choice.
Robert Dykstra She Never Said Goodbye
- So much of grieving is solitary, private, internal, and unobservable.
Terence W. Barrett Life After Suicide
- Grief must be experienced fully to be understood fully.
- The lifelong fear of grief keeps us in a barren, isolated place. Only grieving can heal grief.
Anne Lamott Small Victories
- There’s nothing as deafening as grief. No matter what you do it just rings loud in your ears.
Donna VanLiere The Angels of Morgan Hill
- For in grief nothing ‘stays put.’ One keeps on emerging from a phase, but it always recurs. Round and round. Everything repeats. Am I going in circles, or dare I hope I am on a spiral.
C. S. Lewis A Grief Observed
- It is the peculiar nature of the world to go on spinning no matter what sought of heartbreak is happening.
Sue Monk Kidd The Secret Life of Bees
- Though grief was an emotion I knew well, it became a too familiar garment that I resisted taking off – walking in it, sleeping in it, washing it once a week.
Melissa Ashley The Birdman’s Wife
- There is no right way to grieve. Crying doesn’t always mean healing and silence doesn’t always mean denial.
- Grief comes in waves, healing comes in inches.
Tara J. Lal Standing on My Brother’s Shoulders
- How one grieves depends on what one believes.
Frank Page Melissa
- Historic cultures saw grief as a time of incubation, hibernation, initiation, and transformation. Yet we avoid this sacred space.
Richard Rohr Everything Belongs: The Gift of Contemplative Prayer
- Grief has always been an experience that presents the opportunity to redefine ourselves and our world and find new meaning, value and vision for our lives.
Dr Louis E. Lagrand Healing Grief, Finding Peace
- The consolations of grief are not obvious – the gift of heightened awareness of the value of life, of the preciousness of love, the importance of ritual.
Airdre Grant Stumbling Stones: A Path Through Grief, Love and Loss
- Tend your grief like hard ground, and wait. One day, something will grow; there won’t be an answer, but you will see you’ve found a way to live, and to live with death.
Robyn Cadwallader The Anchoress
- I accepted that sometimes you cannot clear the past completely. You must live alongside your sorrow.
Rachel Joyce The Love Song of Miss Queenie Hennessey
- When you grieve, it’s not just over what happened: we grieve for what didn’t happen.
Dr Edith Eger The Choice
- The worst grief is the hidden grief that cannot speak.
- I grieve for what I cannot remember. It’s a peculiar mourning.
Clifton Crais History Lessons
- If we grieve, we care.