Our lives are peppered with everyday grief. The kind that comes along with the wonder and celebration of watching your children grow right before your eyes. The kind that brings the bitter to the sweet of everyday things, keeping us grounded and reminding us of our humanity.
Advocating for the acknowledgement and processing of every day grief is part of what I do. As we learn to sit with and truly release everyday grief, the better able we are to embrace everyday joy--that beautiful, beautiful stuff of life.
The other grief, the just as natural, but so often unexpected big, heavy, suffocating grief that comes with death or sudden, life-altering change--what do we do with that?
I sit. Sit and knit with a box of tissues nearby until my joints ache more than my heart does. I do what is absolutely necessary and then I sit.
Fresh grief is really a gift full of wisdom and reflection. Often our first reaction is to distract ourselves--get busy, watch a movie that will make us laugh and feel like the world isn't changing. But doing that would be like slapping a bandage over a dirty wound and expecting it to heal properly.
But there has to be some time spent to allow the wound to wash out. While this may look like or feel like emotional shock. If we take time for it to naturally pass, we will have done ourselves a gigantic favor.
Usually when crisis situations come up, they bring with them a load of history that wants to be flushed out. Acknowledging the grief and making space for all that comes along with it helps all that old baggage to flow out. This alone can be painful, since it so often feels as though we are loosing a part of ourselves. And in a sense we are.
We are allowing our past self become a part of the past instead of carrying her around in our present.
It is a little bit miraculous, really. Grief and grievous situations invite us to do deep work just by being still. They transform us without having to intentionally dig into our depths. Like a hot summer wind, grief blows through and purifies. It feels suffocating, and brings out emotions that have long needed acknowledging.
Speak them. Speak the anger, the confusion, the bitterness, the ache. Wail the wails. Let the tears fall. Sob without inhibition--do not judge the sound of your voice in pain. It carries history, and it creates a sanctuary in your present where instant maturation is available if you are willing to receive it.
Anna Turner is the woman behind Little Hearth. She's an ordained interfaith minister, a writer, a believer in purposeful living and healing, a perpetual student, and a full time feminist mother.