I don't know if you know this about me or not, but when I was younger I studied social work and my first internship was with a hospice organization.
There was something about the idea of making peace with yourself and your life that seemed incredibly important to me at the time.
Death is inevitable, I remember thinking, but is there a way to make that transition between life and death less painful?
Part of the training I had to go through for that internship was unsurprisingly related to grief and loss. I learned at that time that grief doesn't only happen when someone you love dies, grief takes place all throughout life. It is a process that we experience to some extent whenever we go through a change.
Grief happens when we lose something that is important to us. It can be a person, a home, an ideology, an identity, a sense of security, our health etc. But whenever we have to let go of something that matters a lot to us we go through a process of grieving. Another thing I learned was that grieving take a LONG time. It takes years and sometimes it never fully goes away, but the pain of it gets less intense eventually.
There are other things I could tell you about grieving-- like that there are stages but they don't occur in order and can reoccur or shift without warning, and everyone experiences it differently and copes with it in their own way. It's a very unique and personal process of healing.
For this past year I've been talking a lot about healing. That was my goal for 2018; focus on my health and see what would happen. It's been an amazing and transformative year so far, but sometimes I get hit with this heaviness around my heart and burst into tears.
Grief, I muttered bitterly when it took hold of me in July and again in September. Why am I still crying about this? Why aren't I done yet?
I've had training. I know it takes years, but knowing that doesn't mean that I don't get impatient. I had to be reminded that it takes time and that I'm allowed to take that time. I'm allowed to grieve even if a year has passed. Even if several years have passed.
I wanted to take some time now to pass that reminder on to anyone else who might need it. Grieving is a long process, and it's okay. Its a process of healing that teaches us about gentleness, patience, and the depth of our connection to ourselves, each other, and the world. It's a powerful and profound kind of experience that we all go through in our own ways. So as I am learning to be gentle, I also want to remind anyone else who might have forgotten to be gentle with yourself also.
It's okay to the time you need to grieve.