First of all, I would like to start off with an apology. I know some of you rely on the monthly articles for this column and last month, I missed it due to my workload. However, we move onward and upward and this month's article will make up for my remiss last time.
One of the biggest issues with grief is the very nature of its understanding, and one can not seem to comprehend how another will cope no more than know how they would cope, or have, since the experience. I guess what I am trying to get at is the fact that we all experience loss in our own way and we have our own mechanisms of dealing with that experience. Why then must we label grief and the experience of grief?
Experts from the past such as Elizabeth Kubler-Ross' work on grief is groundbreaking, but in all of her published works, there are a number of changes in directions, and one can only assume this comes from her understanding as she grew spiritually and learned more. Nonetheless, when you speak with a grief counselor, you will automatically be put into the category you have been assigned based on the 5 stages of grief or whatever one would have learned from the mass amount of information available. Such information is often distilled, misunderstood and pieced together by someone who has neither experience in the emotions and feeling of grief, but understands theory from another's perspective or assumptions.
5 Stages Of Grief
Now, if you have lost a loved one, you will feel one of these emotions or stages at some point in your grieving process. From my discussions with those who have been grieving or are grieving and from the many private sittings I have done, one thing amazes me. Those who have experienced grief counseling at some point all tell me that oftentimes, they never got much from it because the counselor failed to understand them and what they were experiencing. Most felt they were an experiment or were being looked at from a theoretical point of view.
Don't get me wrong, I think grief or bereavement counseling is Important and should be an avenue to look toward, but like finding the right medium, You have to find the right counselor with the right experience.
Don't Label Grief - We all Grieve, but not in the same way!
It is important that we do not label our grief based on the experience, for some people will not deal with things in the manner that you are your teachings are accustomed to. Take an example of a person who, rather than grieving in the way most people thought they would, took to a primitive way of living and survival to find himself. He did not have anger, he did not bargain. He had a deep recognition that he had to return to nature in order to come to terms with his loss. In that moment and the time he spent there, he came to a peaceful point where he recognized his place and the place of his grief. He did not go through all of the stages that are labeled.
I am not saying that you should take to the hills or wilderness to find yourself, but there are many ways that you will deal with grief externally that will help negate those typical stages. With such a variety of life in the world, how can we really label something so personal.
Perhaps then, we should find another way to learn about grief and to help others through the grief journey by not labeling it and not fueling it with negative pitiful emotion, but looking at it from a distance with love and compassion.
How have you dealt with your grief. Other than seeing a medium or a counselor, what weird ways or external ways helped you cope with grief. Let us know!