Grief travels a diverse and twisted road.

It’s often a road that we could never have imagined. I remember thinking that I was grieving for my daughter, Leah, differently than I ever thought I would. You will encounter many facets or aspects of grief as you travel this road. The facets may also be seen as stages of grief; however, I’ve come to see them as facets because for me stages of grief suggest something that will be completed, where as a facet is a smaller part of a whole. My experience has been that a facet can be revisited again and again. As we gain clarity on our journey, a facet can illuminate a deeper truth each time it is revisited.
Here are just a few of the facets I have experienced.

Early Grief

Early grief is not defined by a specific time frame. Early grief usually has many facets of its own. Being overwhelmed, shocked, and needing distractions and diversions can serve a purpose as we discern our new normal. We learn how to take care of ourselves in a new way during the early days of our grief journey. In the early days of my own grief, I was unable to do much of anything. This served as a time of deep listening, of finding what I needed, of rest, and of being with my feelings. When all of that was too overwhelming, I used diversion or distraction to avoid my feelings. Eventually, I learned how much diversion or distraction was helpful and when I needed to begin engaging with my feelings. Everyone has his or her own timetable for moving through this first part of grief. Learning what yours is can help you gain clarity while in this facet.

Searching for Meaning

At some point you may wonder if there is more to your grief journey than what appears on the surface. I would often wonder why I was still here and why Leah wasn’t. It became important for me to know what that reason was, and how I could live up to where my grief journey was calling me to be. As I began to learn how to be present to all of my feelings, I began to realize that it was during these times—when I truly was able to experience presence—that I would receive what I needed to continue to say yes to my journey, to my life, and to where I was being called to go. In the present moment I found everything I needed.

Settling for a Good Life

This is a facet I only recently recognized. After I left my job and began seeing clients, I felt like I had found the meaning I was searching for. I was helping others navigate their grief journeys. I felt like my life had purpose again; and that I was honoring Leah’s memory. I could have stayed at that place without any fear that I was not living the life I was meant to live. Except that I would not have written my book. I would not be sharing my story the way I am now. I would have stayed in that somewhat comfortable place to avoid doing deeper work, inner work that was not at all easy, and I would have not continued to evolve. I’ve come to realize that living the life I am meant to live means that I continue to say yes to the fullness of who I am in each moment. My growth will never stop.

The facets that make up each of our journeys are unique to each of us. I’ve experienced many other facets of my grief journey along the way, and I revisit them from time to time. I’ve also seen how the lessons I’ve learned in my grief journey have given insight to healing wounds from my childhood. That’s something I didn’t expect. I continue to be surprised by all of the threads of my journey; how they are weaving a life unlike anything I could have ever imagined. Maybe it’s not the life I would have asked for, but the life I say yes to in each moment.