This post was originally published on July 22, 2011.
Recently I have had to face the potential death of one, and possibly two beloved family members. Both are still alive; however, both are also nearing the end of their life cycles, which, I am happy to say, have lasted nearly a century.
While all involved are well aware that...
the time for this couple is near, the knowledge that they have lived long and fruitful lives has not eased the pain that they will soon be parting from this world.
The end of something we know and love is usually not welcomed news, even when we understand the reasons why it must come to an end. Of course, we recognize that such changes are a natural part of life, since, as they say, “change is constant”, but that doesn’t make it any easier when the time comes to part with what we love. When change requires saying goodbye to what we hold dear, whether it’s people, a job, a relationship, certain responsibilities or routines, grieving will almost always appear. When we take time to let ourselves grieve, to feel the loss and the associated emotions, rather than to ignore them and hope they go away, our ability to appreciate what we had, yet to also move on with a positive outlook, is much more likely.
When we take time to let ourselves grieve, to feel the loss and the associated emotions, rather than to ignore them and hope they go away, our ability to appreciate what we had, yet to also move on with a positive outlook, is much more likely.
It is during these times of unwanted loss that we tend to block the intense feelings and emotions that accompany such experiences. They’re often quite painful, and they’re not very fun to go through. That being said, time and again I’ve witnessed the eruption of those who refuse to allow the grieving process to progress.
What the people I’ve observed don’t seem to realize is how their emotions show themselves in unexpected ways, which are usually counter productive. Sudden eruptions of anger, blame, fear, panic, depression are just a few examples. Some times people isolate themselves from others; other times, they feel so overwhelmed that they are unable to think clearly, or perform routine tasks that once came easily.
These individuals may become upset with themselves, wondering why they can’t adjust, why they can’t just get over it and move on. It can be a very difficult period for people going through this level of adjustment, and it takes time and a lot of introspection.
Take a look at this animated depiction of the grieving process (it’s presented in a humorous light - from Robot Chicken).
It is my belief that this process can be accelerated and smoother the more open and aware we are to what we’re going through, and it can be hindered the more we resist and try to prevent the process from following its natural course, or when we try to push ourselves through it too quickly.
Author Mitch Albom wrote, “All endings are also beginnings. We just don't know it at the time.” Sometimes it’s hard to see the sun beyond the fog, but once the fog burns away we find ourselves in a different light; the birth of a new day, a new chapter in our lives. If we stop our car when driving through the fog, it will likely take longer to see the light than it would if we consciously moved ahead at a cautious pace. If we move too quickly, without paying attention to our inner voice telling us to “slow down!”, we might lose our direction or crash.
While it might not seem like it, change offers new opportunities for learning and growth. It might not be easy, but taking the time to grieve what you have loved and lost, and to truly appreciate the impact those people or experiences have had on your life, helps to burn away the fog created by living in the past, allowing a new sunny day to emerge.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.