“The great wisdom traditions are trying to teach us that grief isn’t something to run from. It’s a liminal space, a time of transformation.” – Richard Rohr
Years ago, my neighbor’s cat, Scooter, would wander over to my garden and watch me weed. At first I was irritated with her, but I learned to appreciate her company when I found out she was taking care of the mice invasion in the garden. I looked forward to her visits. One day I realized I hadn’t seen her in a while. I asked my neighbor where Scooter was. She sadly informed me that she was hit by a car and died the week before. I remember being so devastated by the loss of this cat. It didn’t make sense; she wasn’t my cat. I didn’t feed her or take her to the vet or change her kitty litter. But the loss for me was overwhelming. What is wrong with me, I thought? Am I crazy? Why am I grieving the loss of this cat so intensely?
Isn’t that how we think about grief? Why can’t I get it together? Why am I so emotional all the time? Why doesn’t life make sense?
We are so misguided when it comes to grieving. Grieving is a normal, natural and necessary way to deal with loss. We tend to be afraid of our emotions. From an early time, we are told, “Don’t cry. Crying is a sign of weakness.” We want to brush grief under the rug. “You should be over grief in two to three months.” “Grief gets easier as you get older.” There are so many myths about how to move through the grieving process. The greatest truth about grief is to learn to allow the process.
I was interviewed this week by Georgena Grace on her Integrated Wellbeing podcast. I appreciate her explanation of grief. “You are not broken by loss. You are broken open like a seed to self-awareness and new connections.”
Grief is not something to get over. We learn to include the loss, the pain, and the sorrow as part of life. We allow it to open and expand our experience of love. Feel your feelings of grief. Attend a grief group. Journal your innermost thoughts, fears and loss. Find a grief counselor. Reach out to friends for support. Be patient with yourself.
In the Book of Hope, Jane Goodall writes, “The depth of our grief is a reminder of the depth of our love.” When we allow ourselves to grieve, we expand our awareness. We open ourselves to more love.