Today, while sipping my coffee, I read some postings on the Grief Toolbox. There was sharing, sadness, and resolve. Regarding one particular entry, I wrote:

“Grief shows up uniquely for everyone.

Just reading the posts, you see a wide variety of feelings. There was anger, sadness, and compassion. But the poem I read spoke of wanting to shield the world from pain and to go on an inward journey.”

What made this piece such a powerful statement for me was that healing can occur while grieving. Each grieving person who speaks their truth, whether it is from their pain or from their sense of healing, presents us with a gift. While suffering and pain is real during grief, when we speak from our heart an act of bravery is performed.

To write of bravery recalls all the fictional constructs of physical muscle, stoic fortitude, and personal strength that allow nothing to deter you from your goal. But, in reflection of the many stories of the loss of a loved one, an image of a deeper kind of bravery has emerged.

Grief involves broken heartedness.

A painful condition when you realize that your life has been changed. What you thought was your path is shaken and you are left to wander. You stumble on in a wilderness of the unfamiliar. You do not know where you are and things seem hopeless. When you are lost you may not realize that you have choices. But the choice is to stay lost and stuck in your current funk or to find your compass and move.

I read the personal stories that are posted on line. Some people have overcome and are aware that foundational changes have happened in their lives. Some wish that things could go back or be different. Some lament that they will never again know what they will do. The sadness and pain that flows from their words emanates from the pages.

During grief, your pain is potent and paralyzing.

People may spend a long time in their pain. Once you have reached the point where you have emptied yourself of that sorrow the bravery enters.

This bravery is drawn from within; when you feel like you have nothing left moving forward takes courage.

To meet the darkness of your feelings takes a brave heart. To know that you make a decision not to forget your loved one but to carry their memory takes strength.

A moment of decision occurs when you take up the hand you were dealt or, as my mother would say, “to bear your cross”. In that decision, your grief can be transforming. It is not about missing your loved one, but of finding a way within yourself to love them in a different way. It is allowing yourself the permission to conclude the former relationship and dream a new way to carry those feelings that allows your heart to heal. You can then enter the new phase of your relationship in a way that honors their memory and builds a positive place for you to live.

Grieve bravely for yourself and for the lost ones who you remember and love.