Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Guru Jane: Wrestling with Grief

"Cigar smoking woman in Cuba" by Tibor Végh - Kuba 996.jpg. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cigar_smoking_woman_in_Cuba.jpg#/media/File:Cigar_smoking_woman_in_Cuba.jpg

Dear Guru Jane,

I've had a major loss in my life recently, and I just don't know what to do. I feel like I am always sad. Then I start to feel guilty for still being sad. People keep saying things like, "It'll be okay" or "It's been long enough." I hate it. They don't know! They aren't me. I just want to tell them to shut the fuck up! But that makes me feel bad too. It's a crazy cycle.

Please help.

Tired of Being Sad

Dear Tired of Being Sad, 

Loss is a difficult process. No matter what kind - the end of a marriage, the death of a friend or family member, the loss of a job, a school shooting, or a mass violent attack - each one effects us individually and at differing levels. One of my biggest pet peeves is people that say, "It's time for you to move on." The thing about loss is that "moving on" is a completely and totally individual act of healing. And just because you have "healed," doesn't mean the hurt isn't going to come back up again from time to time. It most assuredly will.

As you've probably heard, there are stages of grief. Some people say there are seven stages of grief. Others say five. It really doesn't matter how many stages. A person might go through all of them or only some of them. You might also jump between stages or be in 2 stages at once. I, personally, did a lot of sighing during my divorce. My BFF pointed it out, and, when I realized how much I was sighing, I started laughing at myself - which was actually pretty healing! 

What has helped me a lot when dealing with a loss is allowing myself to truly feel my feelings. I'm not saying cry all the time and never stop. I'm saying allow yourself to be sad. Be upset! Be mad! Loss sucks and hurts, and it is in no way fun! So if you need to cry; if you need to rage; if you need to scream and laugh hysterically - DO IT! Do what you need to do to get through. However, please remember you can't do it forever because that will kill you. Grief takes time. It has no set timeline, but the worst will pass into a dull ache and you will get through. Lean on your friends, your family, your therapist, a support group, your church. Surround yourself with people who remind you that it's okay to grieve, and then do it. Because, when push comes to shove, we will all grieve at some point in our lives, and if someone holds you today, someday you will be able to turn around and hold them in return. 

Good luck and know we are sending warm hugs your way.

Guru Jane

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