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Good Grief

Rebecca Bennington Blog Picture

Good grief

It doesn’t feel good, but believe it or not, grief can be good. 

Grief is that feeling you get when you’ve permanently lost something or someone. It can be a lost relationship from death, divorce, or other separation.  It could be a loss of health or physical ability.  It might be the loss of a place that was meaningful to you.  It could even be that you have lost yourself as you dealt with circumstances that led you to an unexpected place in life.

Grief is a combination of several feelings:  sadness, hopelessness, yearning, love, despair, and more.  It brings about the thought that your future is not what you believed it would be before the loss.  Because of the loss, your life is now changed, and the future may look uncertain.  Therefore, grief can also result in fear.

Everyone grieves in different ways.  This may be due to cultural perspectives regarding what is an appropriate display of grief, or your gender, or age, upbringing, surroundings or other factors.  Grief can last a different length of time for everyone, and sometimes it never goes away. 

This all sounds terrible, so then what is the up side to grief?

Grief can result in growth.  It forces us to rethink what our future looks like without the loss.  We have a new future to write.  This won’t be pleasant but can be productive.  To be clear, it does not mean that we are going to stop grieving, but it gives our grief purpose and intention.

The grief that we feel might be thought of as a way to honor the loss.  Grief holds the lost object in our memory and speaks to the deep attachment we hold for it.  To ‘stop’ grieving could mean that we might lose the memories and attachment.  That could then result in feelings of guilt, as though we were no longer honoring the lost object, or it no longer holds importance to us.

Moving forward to a new future does not have to mean that you are dishonoring the past.  Just the opposite, if you can find your way to develop your future and maintain the love of what was  lost, then you are allowing the lost object to be your North star and that is very honorable.  If you think of situations where funds, scholarships, changes in law, and foundations have been set up in the name of someone who was lost, you can see these examples of people allowing their love of the lost to guide their future.  It does not have to be so extreme.  Simply by moving forward with your life because you know that would be the wish of the lost, and to speak of them lovingly, and to embrace the shared memories, and to celebrate the relationship because you got to have it for awhile, is allowing the beauty of the lost object to guide your future, however unexpected it is.

There are steps to what is called “post traumatic growth”. For more information about this subject take a look at this article.  If you would like to talk with someone to help you negotiate challenges you may be facing, please contact us.  We look forward to helping you any way we can.

Post-Traumatic Growth: Definition, Examples, and How to Get It (psychcentral.com)

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Rebecca Bennington

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