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The Reality of Working Through Grief

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The following is an excerpt from “The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide.”

Many people may fear working through the grief, expecting it will be too much to bear. They might believe if they allow themselves to start crying, they may never be able to stop. And so, out of self-preservation, they may refuse themselves the opportunity to grieve appropriately. They lock up all those feelings and emotions and avoid conversations pertaining to the death. Although they may feel they are protecting themselves, they can actually be only injuring themselves further. When we do not grieve, the feelings do not simply go away. Instead, they simmer and boil beneath the surface until they can no longer be contained. When we prevent grief from naturally occurring, it is similar to pouring gasoline on a field of dead grass and shrubs. Eventually, an unexpected spark can come along and engulf the entire lot, leaving a blaze that is completely unmanageable. The repercussions of grief-avoidance are limitless. Not only can it impact our condition of life, it can also impact each succeeding generation. Substance abuse, broken relationships, mental illness, and suicide are just a few of the common consequences of unresolved grief.

The reality of working through grief: It is painful and exhausting. It’s true. It is called “grief work” because it is just that: work. So why do it? We must work through the grief because when we do, we can find healing. When we allow ourselves the opportunity to fully feel the pain, trauma, sadness, anger, devastation, betrayal and abandonment — without censor — we can then also fully experience healing. Healing brings peace, comfort, joy, and the ability to continue living a beautiful life. The grief work is painful, but it is also temporary. Resisting the work, however, can have lifelong ramifications. When we are courageous enough to do grief work, I believe we fully acknowledge our own worth and the value of our loved one, and we choose to be honest with the pain.

This excerpt was pulled from the book, “The Gift of Second: Healing from the Impact of Suicide.” If you have not yet had a chance to check out the video trailer for the book, you can get a glimpse of the heart of the book here.

Image via Thinkstock.

A version of this post originally appeared on The Gift of Second.

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Originally published: January 30, 2017
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