I hear you all.  

What do you mean I have no choice other than feeling this pain!  It feels as though someone has stabbed me in the heart with a knife. If I sit still for long enough, I can feel it turning.  The loss of a loved one can be excruciating.  With every turn of the knife, I am reminded of their persistent absence from my life.  

This pain in your heart constantly reminds you that it has the control over you.

We naturally tend to avoid any negative emotion because of the way they make us feel.  However, when grief makes us feel bad, we start to look inward and naturally move toward positive feelings or emotions.  We grievers are funny; we seek any positive emotion we can in order to avoid feeling pain.  If there is nothing positive to feel, which is often the case, we end up creating one to avoid feeling hurt, sad, or angry.

Processing the fact that we are in pain from your feelings is another way saying that we choose to feel our feelings.  This choice is a decision made by us, the grievers, and it can only be made within our hearts.  It is us, the grievers, who agree to feel all the feelings that surface in the course of our discovery of that which was left unfinished.  In the end, it is only us who have the power to transform our suffering and embark on our journey of healing.

The very moment we admit it out loud, or to ourselves, that we are choosing healing, we begin to lean into the grip of grief.  It is most often at this moment that we are open to looking for someone to help us understand our journey of healing.  And so I say, choose to grieve properly.  Choose to process all the pain, all the healing, all the broken memories and the broken dreams, down to the last thing you said to your departed loved one.

When we become open to healing from the pain, we begin to see that the pain of brokenness is manageable.  That we can take it in in little bits.  Maybe you can allow yourself 5 minutes today, and you will be able to go for more tomorrow.  Choose to heal rather than to avoid or fight, which can have many long-term consequences on your capacity for happiness.

Allow the feelings to be present in your body even though you cannot make sense of them in your mind just yet.  Watch and notice.  As you do this, you will begin to see your thoughts about your loved one appear more clearly.  It may take a few minutes, a few hours, a few days, or a few weeks before you can sit still and allow it to take over.  Let it take as long as it does. Be okay with however long it takes.  Don’t try to force it.  Instead, just keep noticing what you feel.

This is merely the beginning of the process of healing.  But I can say this to you: If you choose not to grieve, you run the risk of remaining stuck in your pain for a long time in the future.  How many of you have met that woman whose husband died over 20 years ago?  No matter what you are talking about, the conversation always steers back towards him.  She may even cry like it just happened yesterday.  I have met her, and my heart aches for her.  She is so stuck in her grief.  

Surely, you will never be the same person as you were before your loss.  But when we allow our hearts to grieve and mend, we come out of it stronger and more authentic, with the ability to connect with others on a deeper level.

~Sharon & Erica