Studio 5 Family and Relationships Contributor, Dr. Liz Hale points out a few things that will help us find strength when dealing with death.
Sorrow is sacred territory. Grief testifies of intense love and loss. I have an acronym for G.R.I E. F. “Go Right Into Every Feeling.” Grieving is not an intellectual experience; it is felt deep within the soul as we ponder the mysteries of suffering and loss. Grief will demand our attention. When we willingly give it the attention it deserves, it will make the process of living with loss more doable. The only feelings that do not heal are the ones that we try and hide.
• Nourish Faith
Beliefs support and sustain us, as well as do family, friends, and community. It’s also helpful to have faith in the other person’s legacy, as well…what would they want me to do now? How I can keep their essence alive? What can I do in their place? We are fortunate if we have beliefs; they give us something else to hang onto when a loved one has been ripped from our grasp.
• Learn from Loss
A friend of mine who recently lost her husband reminds young couples in her congregation at church to sit together! Take advantage of holding hands, scratching each other’s backs; don’t let the kids sit between you in the pews. Losing Al has made her think about her priorities…even though she took advantage of every opportunity she could in being married to him, there is one regret she have of the evening before his death……….she was messing with Christmas tree lights instead of going to bed when he did. Since she stayed up so late the night before, she allowed herself to sleep while Al quietly left for work. Of all days not to get her hugs and kissed from Al.
Death teaches us how to live. It makes life all the more precious. While every anniversary, birthday and holiday is with mixed emotion, it makes the memory of the moment all the sweeter.
• Renew Reasons for Living
In grief, we have the opportunity to become “creative survivors.” We say goodbye, for now, to the relationship we once knew with our loved one who has past and hello to a different kind of connection with them.
Even when grief is resolved, for however long it takes us, we will still feel a sense of loss. Healing does not mean forgetting; and moving on with life does not mean that we don’t forever have a part of our loved one with us. They are never fully gone.
Dr. Liz Hale is a licensed clinical psychologist and a regular Studio 5 Contributor. Your comments and questions are welcomed! Please visit www.drlizhale.com to add your thoughts to today’s discussion or learn more about her private practice.