This chapter foreshadows the birth of my work with clients.
As I read about my experience of early grief, I get a sense of going through that time with blinders on. From where I am today, I can see a bigger picture. Back then I felt lost in a maze, not knowing which way to turn, or where it would lead.
Around each turn, I met many facets of grief: shock, denial, fear, panic, hopelessness, and isolation, to name a few. I was unsure of where to turn in the confusing landscape. Yet even through my confusion I was aware that I was meeting grief in my own way, a testament to my radical nature from the previous chapter.
Each of us grieves in our own unique way, and often when we face grief, we don’t know what our way is to grieve.
It gets even more complicated in a family. We may be grieving for the same person, yet our experiences of grief and how we grieve are completely different from each other. One reason is our unique relationship with the person we are grieving. We grieve from our own perspective.
In my own family, Dan, Peter, and I all had to meet our grief in our own way. We couldn’t help each other until we reached a certain point in our own grief journeys. If this is the case for you, give yourself the time and grace needed to allow everyone to process in their own way.
We haven’t been taught how to grieve by our parents, or by society. Or maybe we were shown that by denying our feelings long enough, they will go away, and we won’t have to face them.
Grief can also be a catalyst for change.
In my own experience, Leah’s death exposed all the places in my life, including my marriage, which needed attention. I had a huge decision to make; did I want to do the work necessary to see if those places could be healed or did I want to use distraction to help them go underground not knowing when or how they would show up in my life?
None of these decisions were easy, yet they were made more urgent by my commitment to honor Leah and her message to me about living the life I was meant to live.
Sometimes giving yourself permission to grieve in a way that makes sense to you is all you need to begin that trek in your own life.