Sharing is Comfort When Navigating Grief
There will be many times that you will have to face your grief alone. And, there will be many times that you alone will have to face your grief. So what’s the difference? This is the universality of grief and the individuality of loss.
Universally, in grief, there will be moments of waking up or turning around and recognizing that you are in the midst of emptiness. Friends or family are not there to help. No one has called in a while to check in. Life seems to have picked back up for others where it left you hanging. You find quiet, maybe too quiet, in the middle of the night or during what was your routine before your loved one died. This is being alone.
Personally, in your loss, maybe you realize that you are the only parent for your children and they depend on you. Or that the everyday support from your partner was instrumental in making decisions or plans. Perhaps you were a caregiver and your sense of loss includes what had become your purpose in life in through providing love and care. Resolving your specific life challenges and feelings that has come along with the death of your loved one is you alone facing your loss.
Sharing is an action step and the human connection for us to process our grief. According to renown death and grief experts Elizabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler:
“Telling the story helps to dissipate the pain. Telling your story often and in detail is primal to the grieving process. You must get it out. Grief must be witnessed to be healed. Grief shared is grief abated. Support and bereavement groups are important, not only because they allow you to be with others who have experienced loss, but because they provide another forum for talking about the devastating events that befell your world. Tell your tale, because it reinforces that the loss mattered.” ~On Grief and Grieving, page 62-63.
Two Types of Stories
Navigating Grief always recognizes that there are two types of stories to be witnessed and shared: The grief story, which includes the death event, the pain, and emptiness; and the life story, which is about the relationship and memories.
Initially, and especially in situations of trauma or suddenness, the grief story may take more time and more retelling to absorb the shock and change that has occurred. But it is the life stories that bring meaning and assimilation of our loved one into our heart helping us continue forward with life. Ignoring or putting off either type of story can keep you going in circles with your grief, but it is through the sharing of life stories, that the grief itself can lessen as our attention turns to the important task of movement from work of grief.
No matter the circumstances of your loss, there are many ways and levels for learning and sharing the stories that bring you here today:
- Support groups for walking with others – online or local, groups provide a shared experience that underscores the universality of grief while allowing for your individual story.
- Questions for exploration – When you share and someone asks you to say more you are exploring the next level of your thoughts about your grief and your loss. You can also explore more deeply through writing and other. Questions and curiosity about your feelings, beliefs, and responses to grief are important Discover tools.
- Investigation for learning the stories. Having a project, such as a storybook or photo caption activity, turns you into an investigator. You may need research whit other family members or friends for their viewpoint. This type of investigative sharing can yield wonderfully rich conversations and information that brings the survivors together in life more than grief.
- Expression for release of high emotion. Sometimes you just need to release some thoughts – the good, the bad and the ugly – as witness. Seek out this sharing in a safe, non-judgmental environment of like-minded support.
- Teaching opportunities. There can be a day when you realize that what you have experienced has now become helpful to others. As you share you are part of the circle of need and support. In the moment you become supportive, not only does this provide you a sense of “how far you’ve journeyed” but through your loss you’ve made the connection that helps bring meaning to your loss.
The Navigating Grief online community is all about sharing. From open discussion to in-depth exploration about grief and storytelling, join us! Here you’ll find the many tools for learning, teaching and sharing through workshops, programs and journals.