Grief Needs Tenderness

I have experienced a lot of grief in my life. Before I was 22 there were seven deaths in my family—aunts, uncles, half-sister, and a father.

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It seemed to me I was always getting this phone call with the unmistakable tone of finality. Then there were the arrangements. I spent so much time at funerals; some I remember and some I cannot.

The funerals were bewildering because after the ceremony many people gathered and were drinking, I guess, to hide their pain and others were in a heightened state of shock. I didn’t know that I was also in an altered state. We were all grieving and no one knew what to do. The funerals passed and then the first holiday without the person and then a year and more years.

Grief doesn’t really go away. It diminishes as life and experience pull us in other directions but the feeling of loss creeps up when we least expect it. Since my experiences occurred when I was relatively young I didn’t know other people—friends or classmates, who had shared such events. I felt weird as if I had been visited by aliens and marked by events over which I had no control and couldn‘t share easily. Grief groups weren’t my style, family members were locked in their own attempts to cope. So I ignored my grief. I got on with it and kept very busy.

I don’t recommend this approach. It forestalls dealing with the hurt and grief leaks out in odd moments. I remember becoming hysterical at college because I lost my favorite orange fountain pen. I was inconsolable. And another time, after I had started therapy—therapy does help, I was out of town and scheduled to arrive in good time before my appointment but there was bad weather and the plane delayed. I had a hysterical meltdown in the airport. I could have called. I could have done the session on the phone but the unexpected loss of control was more than I could manage.

What did help? Love and Astrology. Readers know that I usually write about the astrological signs and how they deal with a variety of life’s problems. I have also spent much of my life helping people through grief; helping them to make sense of the devastation they feel. I consider myself a grief professional and it has been a hard won skill.

Acknowledging the world of the spirit helps. Following dreams also helps. I have heard too many stories and had my own experiences to doubt that when people pass on into spirit they watch over the people they love who remain on earth. Dreams can comfort us and no matter what the circumstances of someone’s passing they will let their circle know that they are well and peaceful. These dreams may take a while but they will come.

Sharing grief can help but only if you feel you can deal with it. The best comfort is for someone to listen to you without comment or judgment—just be there, and if the grief filled person wants to speak only about the most trivial subjects, so be it.

Grief is part of life and whether we experience it a young age or when we are old and grey all of us will come to know it. Best to acknowledge the feelings and be very gentle with yourself.

Chocolate helps too.

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