We defend ourselves against grief. Our culture carries subtle and not so subtle messages to stop us expressing our grief. We are told ‘the pain will go away if we ignore it’, or ‘overcome it or simply push beyond it’. We are given ways to deal with it – ‘buy something’ or ‘talk ourselves out of grief by being positive’ and there are even spiritual suggestions where we are told it is ‘God’s will’, or ‘they’re better off now’.
And many of our rituals for dealing with grief, such as wearing black or not going to social events have all but disappeared.
We need to be creative about honouring grief. It is recognised that we go through stages of grief; shock, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. We don’t have to go through these in order or within any timeframe. It is normal to go back and forth, to get stuck in one stage for a while or to bypass another.
We need to accept grief as part of life’s path – that every embrace has a goodbye, every togetherness a loneliness and every beautiful memory a tinge of sadness; ‘there will always be a corner of our hearts where it is autumn, that part of us that aches with searching and loneliness with restlessness and dissatisfaction’.