For 23 years, I’ve been counseling grieving families. I don’t know why I’m continually shocked by the lack of tenderness in the world toward too many grieving and broken hearts. A grieving mother recently shared that she was tearful when a friend called her one night. The concerned friend came over to help. But when this mom began to share her emotions- her grief- the friend, someone who no doubt loves this mom, quickly changed the subject and said, “I have an idea! Let’s go have a cocktail.”
It’s time for that grief revolution I’ve been harkening for two decades. We must stop this. We must stop treating emotions as the enemy of our lives. Doing so simply adds more suffering to our suffering, and it fuels mistrust between people and within ourselves as we question the legitimacy of our own wise hearts.
Substances are not the answer to grief. Nor is food or gambling or television or pills or porn or nightclubs or spiritual practice or travel. There is no distance so far away that grief cannot find us.
There is no hiding from our grief. It waits patiently, it changes form, it asks to be seen. To be felt.
The only thing we can do is to feel our grief. Not feel differently. Not feel better. Just to feel. And we need loving support, not substances and distractions, to bear what feels otherwise unbearable.
We need #griefintelligence in the world and grievers, not early grievers necessarily, are going to have to bring it with compassion when and if they are ready.
Because our emotions aren’t the problem and our grief isn’t the tragedy. The way some others treat our emotions is the problem and the tragedy is that our beloved died.