#exposemyself Day 2
I don't believe that anyone should ever have to apologize for:
Grieving out loud
Grieving in public
Decisions they make while grieving like how they write up an obituary, belongings of the lost loved one, etc.
Calling out any A*holes that dares to tread on the sacred space of grief
Not following someone else’s how-to, blueprint of “this is how to grieve”
I want you to have a permission slip to practice Unapologetic Grief - Your Pain, Your Loss, Your Journey, Your Way!
I’m gonna let my geek flag fly a moment - I watch Star Trek and on the Discovery series, the character Saru had this today say about it: “If loss has taught us anything, it has taught us that we have to sit in our pain in our own way.” That was so profound for me when he said that. (He really is a wise character - one of my favorite characters.)
If anyone tries to tell you all the whats, whens, hows, whys of grief, I strongly suggest you use your discernment. Are they really trying to “help”?
When you are faced with grief, you will have to take the journey. You can’t run from it. You can’t stick your head in the sand and hope it just goes away. You have to sit with it. Surrender and let grief take you by the hand and lead you forward. It is only in traveling the journey that healing will come. It’s not easy. Grief will break you - or at least parts of you. It will transform you.
When my Dad died, I disengaged. I shut down. I stayed in anger. Bitterness took hold. My heart turned to stone. Depression set in. The only time I sought help, it came back to bite my entire family on the backside - so I quit asking for help and I sat with it… alone. Isolated from the rest of the world. Grief never left. It stayed. It wept. It kept inviting me to move along & assuring me things would get better. But I was stubborn and I stayed. It ripped me to the core. And the one person I would normally go to for advice is the one person I couldn’t because that was my dad and he was gone.
I felt like society wanted the grieving to do the work of pain and loss behind closed doors. Don’t remind the outside world of things like sorrow, death, and other so-called negative feelings and topics that make a majority of society just outright uncomfortable and awkward. I tried to oblige… for 5 years. But the reality is that we aren’t meant to do life this way as a grieving person. I finally let it go. Once I came up for air and daylight again, my brother died. I was determined NOT to go back into grief’s dungeon for another 5 years. I did it differently. My terms. My way. The experience of grief was transforming the second time around.
Grief is where you honor your loss (lost person, relationship, pet, job, time, identity, purpose, dream) with your tears. It’s the highest honor you have to offer. You recall the stories. You contemplate the impact on your own life that they had before and now, after they’ve gone. You go through the anger, the sorry, the bargaining, denial, depression, blame, guilt, acceptance. In no particular order… and not a one and done thing either. You return again and again. Instead of stages of grief, it should be called stations. (And there aren’t just the 5 most talked about that I learned in psychology.)
Every grief journey is different.
I also consider grief as a sacred space in midlife. It’s part of the journey. As we get older, we lose more people. We also experience other types of loss. Job or career loss. Our identity transforms as we become empty nesters and our roles often change from mother to caregiver to our parents. We can lose purpose, direction, dreams… upon the realization that life hasn’t turned out how we expected it to. We suffer from burnout which is to experience the loss of momentum, vision, motivation, etc. I’ve also noticed upon entering midlife, I had been exposed to a culture in earlier years where you didn’t talk about midlife issues. We couldn’t even call menopause by it’s name. It was referred to as “The Change.” And it was mysterious and you didn’t dare approach someone undergoing “the change” about “the change.” It seemed like something to be dreaded. I see great similarities with how we as a culture have approached grief as well.
To experience so much grief, why does it have to be uncomfortable or awkward - for us or for others? I hope to change that. I mean, spoiler alert, NONE OF US get out of this thing called life alive! As we age, loss will continue to walk along beside us, a familiar, although unwelcome, companion.
Midlife. Grief. They transform us. Yet, we get to have the final say as to how exactly they do that. This isn't sexy nor trending on social media these days; but it’s true, and not enough people talk about these things. . .on a raw, unapologetic level. Where get real about all the things. Even if the truth is ugly.
Why isn’t this a popular, trending topic? Because it doesn’t really sell. What does is platitudes and well-meaning encouragement about getting to the other side of grief.
Or better yet, how we aren’t supposed to grieve because our person is in a better place.
Or that job we lost is so something better will come along.
We even call pet loss something positive - crossing that rainbow bridge.
Sure you can take that approach, but if you don’t deal with the ugly truth in your raw, unapologetic way - do you really heal from it?
Are you willing to feel whatever discomfort shows up until you get the healing you want?
Most people aren't. Because taking the journey through deep, raw, emotional pain just doesn’t line up with the way society wants to witness. Tony Robbins says that often the only problem we have is to think we shouldn’t have a problem. Same can be said about grief: The biggest obstacle to our healing through grief is thinking we shouldn’t have to experience the pain of the loss.
Ps 23:4 TPT reminds us that we will travel valleys through shadows. We don’t escape it.
Lord, even when your path takes me through
the valley of deepest darkness, fear will never conquer me, for you already have!
You remain close to me and lead me through it all the way. Your authority is my strength and my peace. The comfort of your love takes away my fear. I’ll never be lonely, for you are near.
We want to hack our feelings.
This is why people like to buy and sell the idea of only feeling “ease” to get what you want. That’s way easier than the hard stuff.
The really hard stuff.
So let’s get it clear:
Our brains are wired to avoid pain, seek pleasure and save energy. It’s called being human.
So, taking on profound loss will be considered “pain” (and to be avoided at all cost).
Imagine a life where you want to heal; but, you resist anything that feels uncomfortable?
How far will you go? How long?
Five years (like I did after my dad died)? Until your heart is consumed with bitterness and isolation?
If you want the real and raw truth about what it really takes to confront midlife / grief YOUR way, then I hope you stick around. Subscribe to this site!
If you’re just looking for positivity, surface platitudes, shallow, feel-good motivation and pretty pictures, I don’t think you’ll appreciate what I have to offer.
Your choice ❤