Grief is a spiritual process that shows up in times of death, change and loss. While it doesn’t feel like it most of the time, the grieving process is a gift given to us by our Divine Source that allows us to move through the many losses of our lives, find healing and release of these losses, and be made ready to accept the new life that waits on the other side of the loss.
The Faces of Grief
Grief shows up in many ways as we move through the process of loss. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross identified six phases of grief: denial, bargaining, anger, depression, sadness and acceptance. These phases come in a wide variety of shades and expressions and are not always easily identified as grief may just as likely show up in normal behaviors that somehow seem disproportionate to the situation. What follows is a brief run-down of some of the more expressions shades of grief:
- Emotional and mental paralysis
- Not being able to get thoughts from your brain to your mouth, or not being able to form a cohesive statement
- Lowered resistance to illness – being sick more than usual or feeling a general feeling of malaise.
- Loss of focus, difficulty holding attention
- Impatience, irritability, heightened frustration
- Tears Tears Tears
- Disproportionate responses to general irritations, anxieties, etc.
- Anxiety, panic, trembling, shaking, not being able to keep warm (some of these are also symptoms of trauma)
- Sleep Sleep Sleep
- Not wanting to get out of bed
- Loss of appetite
- Seeking out avoidance tactics
- physical pain and body aches
What to Do When Grief Shows Up
In the grieving process, the invitation is to be present to the grief and all that shows up with it. We are invited to be present to the feelings, the emotions, and the energy of grief, accepting it all as part of the healing. As we allow the faces of grief to show themselves and hold space for them to move through, we find healing, comfort and release. It is ok to grieve – in fact, it is necessary for it is only in being present to the grief that we can be open to receiving the new life on the other side.
Ask for Help
One final note, do not be alone in your grief. While there are times you will want to have privacy while processing the difficult emotions grief, Find close friends, family, a counselor or therapist or a spiritual director who can be a source of support for you as you move through your losses. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Where have you experienced a significant loss in your life?
How did grief show itself?
How did you allow yourself to be present to the grief?
What was the new life that you discovered on the other side?
Lauri Ann Lumby, OM, OPM, MATS, Ordained Interfaith Minister and Spiritual Director is available for one-on-one support for those moving through the grieving process. Learn more HERE.