“Grief is like the ocean; it comes on waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”
― Vicki Harrison
To be human is to love, and with love comes the possibility of loss. Each person at some point in their lives will experience grief, and each person will experience that grief in their own unique way. There is no correct way to grieve. What’s important is we allow ourselves to experience that grief.
Grieving can be frightening and can cause a person to feel a certain loss of control. Some people dam up their feelings because they think that once the floodgates open they will be overwhelmed. What they may not realize is that those feelings will find a way to bubble back up somehow.
As written in a previous post, The Journey of Grief, “It is healing to allow yourself to feel and express whatever complex emotions you encounter. Hiding from your feelings, however, can have a negative impact on your well-being.” Anger, depression, sleep disturbances and more can all be signs of unexpressed emotional conflict.
Other people learn to cope with their loss, but later grow frustrated with themselves when they experience the pain anew. They thought they had learned to cope with the pain and had overcome it, and then one day a new wave of emotion comes crashing in.
Grieving is not a linear process. Some days we might feel almost normal, or our new version of normal. Other days we might feel the pain of the loss of our loved one as keenly as the day they left, even years later. This is all a natural part of the experience of grief.
So what can we do instead? We can be gentle with ourselves and practice good self-care. Find activities that give us strength and healing. Go for a walk, connect with our “safe” people, get enough rest, take up a new hobby. We can find our spiritual center and pray or meditate . We can also talk about our loved one and remember the ways that they impacted our life.
All of these things can help make us strong. They can help keep us afloat. That way, when the waves return, we can face them knowing that we will not drown.
Whether the waters of emotion are calm, or the waves are strong, what matters is that we keep trying learn how to swim.
~Jennifer Roberts Bittner
Funeral Celebrant/ Life Tribute Specialist
Morrissett Funeral and Cremation Service
6500 Iron Bridge Rd.
N. Chesterfield, VA 23234
Serving the Richmond area since 1870