My wife (Angel Hirsch) recently faced the loss of her mother, and I’m sharing her recent writing on the topic. I pray it will help those who may be facing similar loss, and who may be going the through the grief process. She writes…..

To grieve is to pay ransom to love."  Edwin Shneidman

Grief and grieving are no easy tasks. I understand firsthand, as one acquainted with loss and death. Loss and death visit us all in one form or another. Where the loss is, grief is close by. I have learned the best way to handle grief is to deal with grief.

I have a lot of questions about grief and its process. Here are a few; Is there any value or virtue that can be found in the suffering that accompanies grief? Why is it that the grieving has to feel so bad for so long? What good does it do? Is it necessary to give in to grief and let it take us to the depths of despair?  Does it not make more sense to spend our time in more positive, less disturbing pursuits?”

Though I don't have all my questions answered, in my grief journey, I had a friend well acquainted with pain and grieving say to me, “Grief is not a problem to be solved; it is a process, a natural process.” That piece of wisdom from my friend initially stung. As it sank in, it became like a healing balm; grief is only avoidable if one has no attachments. That thought lead me to the question, ”what kind of a life would an attachment-less life be?” I conclude, though the pain of death and loss may be agonizing, I would not trade the love from and for my loved one or lost dreams for freedom from the pain that proceeds. 

I understand that grief is a reasonable emotional reaction to loss. There are no limits, boundaries, or rules regarding loss or what could be considered a loss. There are various forms of significant losses that can trigger grief responses in addition to death, such as the end of a relationship, a move to a new community, an anticipated opportunity or life goal that is no longer a possibility, or the death of a pet or someone significant to us is diagnosed with a potentially life-threatening illness.

Grief involves emotional upset that varies by individual and by loss. Grief may be especially burdensome in response to a loss that was traumatic, sudden, or severe. No matter the loss, it is necessary to grieve, even biblical. Experiencing grief is individual; no two people are likely to experience grief in the same way.

Although grief of some sort is inevitable, wearisome, time-consuming, and often unaccommodating, in all truth, it does result in good. Ultimately, one is better off for having walked through the grief, as this is the route toward healing. We all grieve and need guidance, direction, and strategies to help us cope with grief. It may take more time, love, and patience than we ever imagined, however, when we grieve we heal.

“The truth that many people never understand, until it is too late, is that the more you try to avoid suffering the more you suffer because smaller and more insignificant things begin to torture you in proportion to your fear of being hurt.”  Thomas Merton

Angelia (Angel) Hirsch

MA LPC & LC

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