A Hospice Story

Be Gentle

Submitted by: Denise Torgerson - February 3, 2017

For some reason our culture has dictated that feeling sad is bad. We are taught to avoid negative feelings at all costs.

When someone we love dies, we are told that to grieve openly, or privately for that matter, is somehow going to hurt you. We are afraid to feel.

This is quite frankly incorrect. The process of grieving is natural. It is what we are supposed to do when we experience a loss. As you move through the process, circumstances, memories, people, places and experiences show up that remind us of our pain.

There is a lot going on. Grief doesn't stop after the funeral, or even in a couple of months, as some would have us believe. Grief will continue. The intensity of the emotions will lessen perhaps but the loss becomes part of you. You do not "get over it", or "let it go" but you learn to carry it with grace.

The work of grieving is to learn how to honour your loved one and to honour yourself. This is no small task. You are creating a whole new way of experiencing life without your person in it. And every aspect of your life is affected.

We are afraid of our feelings in grief. The intensity is surprising. This causes us to resist them. We push them a way and we put on a "brave face". The resistance is exhausting. It requires far more energy to resist than it does to allow.

By paying attention to what is going on inside of us and giving those thoughts and feelings some space, we can consciously unravel this experience of overwhelm.

They say you can't schedule grief in. And yes, it does show up in surprising ways and at inopportune times, but I suggest that even if you take a few minutes every day to check in with yourself – to pay attention to how You are treating You, and to take time to remember your love you have for your person, you can experience your grief in a healthy way. By devoting time to your grief and recognizing how it shows up in your life you can make choices that support your experience.

Those negative feelings will come up and odd things will trigger you in ways you can't imagine, but if you can allow them and acknowledge yourself for doing the work, it will lessen the confusion.

Grieving consciously is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, mindfulness and creativity to honour your own unique journey.

Be Gentle with yourself.