Word of the Day: Grief


If you hang out at a counseling center long enough (like I do), one thing will eventually rear its ugly head over and over again.


Most of us associate grief with losing a loved one. But, in actuality, grief is merely the reaction humans have to any sort of negative change or loss in our lives. As a society we deal with grief poorly. We tamp it down inside ourselves. We try to deny it’s there. We avoid it like the plague.

Why? Grieving a loss is painful and we humans hate and fear pain.

Did you know that Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and hoarding are considered the symptoms of an ungrieved loss of some sort? It’s true. Once a person actually feels the pain of that loss and grieves it properly, these behaviors usually lessen. Trust me–if a person has developed OCD or hoarding, they are probably going to need professional help to get over that loss.

Last Friday was a grieving day for me. One year ago today my brother made the difficult decision not to pursue any more cancer treatment. It shocked my other brother and me. Our brother was one of the most persistent, patient, calm people we knew. If anyone would beat cancer’s butt, it was our brother. And yet, the pain became too enormous and despite us wanting him around for a lot longer, we supported his decision and his wishes.

Have I permitted myself some tears and some painful memories this month? Yes.

And as I write this, the tears are brimming in my eyes once again. Do I enjoy the grieving process? No. Do I embrace it?

Yes. Grieving is healthy.

If you ask me, terrorism occurs because people have only allowed an angry response to perceived injustices and losses in their own lives. If we all confronted these losses and got to those tears, I am convinced the anger and the vengefulness would eventually disappear.

Do you now think it might be important to embrace that grieving process?

And one more final point: Your grief won’t look like anyone else’s. It’s okay to be different (provided  you’re not harming yourself or others in the process!). Some of us, myself included, grieve by working non-stop. Some of us, myself again included, write about it. Some of us sob continually for days, weeks and months. Some of us replace that loss with something or someone else. Some of us become reclusive. Some of us surround ourselves with friends and family. Some of us talk ad nauseum about the departed. Some of us refuse to talk about that person or loss. Some of us become nearly catatonic. Some of us can’t eat or sleep.

Thus, we should stray away from criticizing other people’s grief process. Some will be particularly adept at handling grief and move through the grief stages quickly. Some of us will take years to get over a loss. However, a person grieves (as long as they’re working on it responsibly), let’s give that person some room to maneuver and be an individual.

If you or someone you know is not handling grief well, please do yourself or that person a favor and seek assistance from a support group or mental health professional. Many times these folks will say a person’s grief response is perfectly normal!

When it’s your turn, embrace that time of grieving. Give yourself permission to sleep more (or at least relax more). Make yourself eat something, preferably something healthy. Exercise (Those endorphins help!), even if you can only manage it for a few minutes. Give back to your community in some positive way. Pray. Journal. You will be amazed at how such things help.

Guess what? Those tears are now gone. 🙂 I told you writing about it works. 🙂 🙂

Monday’s Post: Did you know the Word of the Week?

You Might Also Like: Word of the Day: Sacrifice; Word of the Day: Love; Word of the Day: Avoidance; and Word of the Day: Red

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 25th, 2015 at 10:50 am and is filed under God stuff. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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