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Self Care Tips

Good Grief

Karen Rowinsky - Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Good hardly seems like an appropriate word to put with grief. Yet, as painful as grief can be, it is good for us. Throughout life, each of us suffer losses. The loss of a loved one can be particularly profound. Yet, rarely does anyone teach us about grief.  

We grieve. It's a part of life. When we love someone and then lose him or her, we're left with a painful void. Everything feels turned inside out, and even the simplest things can be difficult to accomplish.  The process of grieving - and it is a process - is a healthy experience. It is also a unique one: you feel and expresses grief in your own way and on your own timeline. And that is what seems to confuse us.  

Grief can be so painful that we often try to suppress it or run away from it. Fighting the emotions of grief can make them feel even more intense. Self care during grieving the loss of a loved one is all the more important. The following are some ideas on re-framing grief from bad to good:

Embracing - It can sometimes be so painful you feel like you are going to die too, but embracing and truly experiencing your loss can be re-framed as one way to honor your loved one and the relationship you shared. Acknowledging how important the individual was to you can "hurt so good."

Growing - Grieving is an incredible opportunity for growth. Even though while in the midst of it you might want to say, "Thanks, but no thanks." Most of us, during our grieving, will feel regret for something said or not said, done or not done. Learning from these insights offers us a chance to change the way we are in relationship with others or change the way we operate in the world.

Accepting -  When we grieve we often think or do some crazy things. We are in touch with our "human-ness." Accepting our own foibles may make us more accepting of others. Grieving can teach us empathy and our thoughts and sensitivity to the normal "craziness" of others may be enhanced.

Doing - When we grieve, we often try to make meaning of our loss. Sometimes it doesn't make any sense why our loved one has died. Yet, it makes us feel better to put our grief, and what we have learned, to use. This kind of doing honors our loved one, gives our loss some meaning, and can be another definition of good grieving.

A while ago I attended a workshop that gave me the idea for this tip. I hope you will continue reading about two amazing expressions of good grief.  

Those Who are "Doing"

The Birdhouse Project

The presenter for the workshop I attended was Kris Munsch. Kris' 16 year old son, Blake, died in a car accident in 2005. Kris shared his grief journey with us and how he is grieving and making meaning of Blake's death. I can't do justice to explaining the project to you. I can urge you to go to  The Birdhouse Project online to learn about this incredible man, how he is honoring his son, and at the same time helping the people whose lives he touches.

Blair's Foster Socks

At the workshop, I had the good fortune to sit at a table with Michele Shanahan DeMoss and her husband, Brian. Michele and Brian lost their 11 year old daughter, Blair, on July 4, 2011. Blair was enjoying an Independence Day family celebration when a bullet, fired from a gun blocks away, killed her. In her grief, Michele decided to start a foundation to continue a project Blair had started. Please go read about Blair's Foster Socks to learn about this amazing young woman and the legacy her mom is continuing.
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