“The reality is that you will grieve forever. You will not get over the loss…. you will learn to live with it. You will heal and you will rebuild yourself… You will be whole again, but you will never be the same. ~ Elisabeth Kübler-Ross
An all too common fallacy about healing is that it cannot come quickly enough. After a tragedy, we suffer through the agony of grief, the thought of release from suffering never far from our minds. We pray to God or whatever higher power we believe in to help us to find solace, never realizing that our suffering is part of a process that will, with our participation, allow us to come out on the other side in one piece.
Healing is not magic. As Kubler-Ross posited so many years ago, the path from grief to acceptance and, ultimately, peace is a long, slow road. We enter it as we would a long, dark tunnel: blinded by the darkness, unable to see around the twists and turns ahead. Then, as we move through each step in the healing process, the blackness fades to shades of gray, until at some point we see a glimmering of light. It is not a journey that can be rushed–nor is it one that we can end by turning back. There is no turning back from loss, which is exactly why it hurts so much.
But healing does come, that I promise you. And I also promise you that it never looks or feels the way you expected it would. It is different for everyone, but it is also, in a very fundamental way, always the same — characterized by a deep understanding that life itself has meaning and value, and the knowledge that this, in itself, is enough to make the journey worthwhile.
Start this journaling session with a short meditation…..
Close your eyes, take three deep, cleansing breaths, and relax your body as you bring to mind a loss — something that you are still working through or something that happened a long time ago that still causes you pain. Try to reach deep into your heart, and get in touch with how much it hurts.
Now, imagine that you are at the entrance of a long, dark tunnel. There is no light; you can’t see what’s on the other side or how far away it is. But you know that unless you make it to the other end, you will never be released from your pain.
How does this make you feel? Angry? Sad? Helpless? Hopeless? Alone?
Write in your journal about the feelings that came up. As you explore them, compare them to the experience of living with and struggling through your pain and loss. Is there an emotion you are holding on to? Is there a step in the process you have been unwilling to take, and if so, why do you think that is? Whatever you learn, use these insights to help you define and naviagate your personal journey to the other side of the pain.
“Grief does not change you, Hazel. It reveals you.” ~ John Green