You’re on my mind and I wanted to share what I’ve learned about grief and suffering. These emotions come in many forms and impact us deeply when we lose a loved one. When the loss comes through suicide, it is compounded by a myriad of thoughts and feelings based on how we personally feel about our loved one’s death, what our friends and families think about it (or what we think they think), and what we believe to be true about it spiritually and/or culturally.
When I lost my husband to suicide, grief came like a tidal wave crashing in on me. I felt like I was drowning. I wasn’t. Thankfully, I would survive the ride. My experience of grief has been like being in the ocean. Sometimes it’s very still, sometimes there are small ripples, there are deep swells, occasional rides on top of a wave, sometimes you come crashing down, and then you move through it all again only in a different order.
Grief, in and of itself, is the deep sorrow we feel caused by our loved one’s death.
I’ve learned that grief is our guide through the experience. It is important to be in it, not to fight against it or to try to predict it, but rather to allow the healing that comes with each ripple and each wave.
Grief is the result of having loved deeply.
It is not something to be feared, regretted, or moved through quickly.
It shows us the depth of our love by feeling the despair of no longer having them here with us.
It shows us the richness of our experiences through our memories of them.
It shows us how to we can live fully and completely, when we allow it to.
Grief is an essential emotion for healing.
On the flip side, there is suffering. Suffering happens when we don’t allow the natural healing effects of grief to take place. This occurs when we allow grief to become marred and tainted by thoughts we have that create feelings of guilt, shame, blame, self-doubt, and self-pity to name a few. These feelings keep the wound open and the pain fresh.
Suicide often brings these feelings to the table because of what we believe about the person who passed, our relationship with them, what we could or should have done differently, etc. These feelings can arise as well by what others choose to say to us about us, our loved one and the situation.
Unfortunately, our healing can be hindered when we allow ourselves to feel responsible or somehow culpable for what happened. I experienced guilt. I knew it wasn’t my fault, but that knowing was elusive. It came and went with my own regrets, what ifs and should haves, in addition to the blame I received from his friends and family.
And then there were the thoughts I had about myself, my future, what life would hold from this point forward, who I was and if there was ever a possibility of finding love and happiness again. I wasn’t sure I deserved it. I wasn’t sure anyone would want to be with me. The self-doubt and the self-pity wandered in unexpectedly and stayed without my consent.
I thought this suffering was all part of the stages of grief, but that is NOT how it works.
I was stunned to learn that the suffering I was experiencing was unnecessary, completely optional and within my control to change! When I discovered that I could think and feel whatever I wanted to about the way my husband died, what it meant about our life together and who I was, and how it would affect my future, everything changed.
I began to question my thoughts and beliefs, the status quo, the stigma of my experience, my story and what other people’s opinions meant in my life. I asked if these were all in fact true. I asked if I wanted to believe what I thought I believed. I got curious about whether my or not beliefs were helping me or holding me back.
I gave myself permission to let go of the old stories and preconceived notions, to reset my thinking and begin to create new experiences, so I could rebuild my life and find happiness and love again. I let go of the suffering. I allowed healing to come.
It is possible. Let it be essential.
With love & possibility,
P.S. You can let go of the guilt & self-doubt, make peace with your past and rebuild your life! It is absolutely possible.
It’s a process.
It’s not always easy, but you can do hard things.
It’s extremely revealing. It’s ultimately empowering.
Join me for a free empowerment session so we can talk about what’s going on for you and how we can work together to get you where you want to be and beyond!
It is SO worth it! AND so are YOU!