Grief isn’t good or bad. It just is.

When we gave Good Grief it’s name back in 2004 it was with the idea that good can come from grief. Creating Good Grief for me was creating good out of the pain that came my dad dying when I was 14.

But sometimes people get the idea it means grief is good. Grief isn’t good or bad, or right or wrong. Grief just is. Grief is the array of emotions we feel in response to losing someone or something we love or value in our lives.

They key to how well, or how “good” we’re going to do after a loss is mourning. Mourning is the outward expression of our internal feelings.

It is the key to our healing and freedom and eventual joy again in life.

Talking Helps

One of the ways we mourn is by telling the story of our loss, usually over and over again.

My mom said after my dad died (she was 44) she must have told the story of his illness and death over 100 times to her friend Carlin in the living room.

Carlin, bless her, just listened. What a gift, what grace. Over time my mom thrived, becoming a successful realtor and loving life. Oh she loved life so much!

Years later I realized that’s what my brother and I didn’t get. The opportunity to tell our story.

We did terribly after our died, going off track in our lives in ways typical of grieving kids who don’t receive support.

People didn’t know back then that kids needed support too, just like adults. Hence, Good Grief. And Imagine. Two nonprofits born out of a daughter’s grief and pain. The good that can come from grief.

Other ways to mourn include:

  • Write poetry
  • Listen to music. A patient told me today they gave themselves permission to sit in a quiet room and listen to Sarah McLachlan’s album Surfacing and just cry.
  • Create a memory box
  • Create a family ritual
  • Share memories
  • Participate in support groups
  • Hike in nature and being outside
  • Letting yourself cry. I hope some day people stop apologizing for crying!

These are just some of the ways we can mourn in healthy ways. The goal is to not keep our feelings bottled up inside in the dark. But rather to shine a light on our grief and on our loss.

Also …Yoga

In the year after my mother died I went to yoga every week. I no sooner would walk in the room than I would silently begin to weep.

Tears ran down my face during tadasana and baddhakonasana. A pool of tears collected in my ears as I rested in savasana (corpse pose, could it be more appropriate?!) at the end of each hour.

There was something about the lowered lights, the soothing ritual, the silent focus that emptied my brain of thoughts and just let me feel. Yoga is one of the ways I took care of myself and one of the ways I mourned.

It has been said that time heals all wounds. But it’s not time alone that heals. It’s what we do during that time. That’s the work and process of mourning.

What are some of the ways you~ mourn a loss?

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