The Courage To Grieve

I am not at all claiming to be an expert on the varied topic of grief. Although there may be familiar elements between individuals’ grief experiences, their paths are distinctly unique.

With that in mind, it’d be ridiculous for me to make any sweeping generalizations regarding how to grieve or what to expect. I do not know what you’re going through, nor can I claim insight into what is to be anticipated. That said, I think a common thread among the different grief journeys is that completing them well requires a special courage.

My own experience with grief started from a horrific car accident that resulted in the loss of my plans, many of my cherished pastimes, and inadvertently, also some of my identity. The latest blow came this past fall, when I was told that I wouldn’t be given a full-time job in speech pathology, which I was hoping for.

As a speech pathologist, you have two years after obtaining your master’s degree to complete your clinical fellowship in order to gain full licensure. I was exactly half way through this supervised internship when the accident occurred. As a result of my severe injuries, my stint was cut short and in the year following the accident, my full-time job was attending doctor appointments and rehab sessions. I used countless pages of paper telling the state licensing board why I probably wouldn’t be meeting the two-year licensing deadline and requesting for an extension.

While completing my own physical therapy, I volunteered over 400 hours at two fabulous medical facilities. At the first one, I completed administrative tasks cheerfully and to the best of my ability, clinging to any verbal encouragements I received about an eventual offer for a clinical fellowship. However, I wasn’t offered one and my time volunteering there eventually ended without an offer of employment. At the second facility, I volunteered many more hours, again hoping to be offered a job as a speech therapist.

I put every effort into making it happen, but eventually realized they had no intention of hiring me full-time. The end of the second volunteer position came as a huge blow, reviving the hopelessness I had felt after the accident. I had thought I’d worked through these feelings, believing that I had been able to put the loss behind me, but now, it all came back.

I have learned that grief is not a linear process. Even after appearing to have resolved a particular loss in a mature way, it is likely to pop up again, sometimes when least expected. Situations may also arise which require the individual to face these emotions a second time—or for the 1,000th time.

It takes courage to embark on a path that, while necessary, will surely be painful. False inner voices or those outside your own head may give you the impression that you’ve already worked through that grief, and that it’s time to move on. But the truth is, it may not always be the case. With the necessary boldness, unapologetically admit that you need to grieve.

Grieving is hard—and often daunting—work. It requires endurance to accept that as an individual, or even in supporting a loved one, you are in it for the long haul. Life is not going to return to what it was before, although you may find joy beyond your imagination. Boldly leave room for the potential of that joy to come.

To grieve well is to acknowledge the feelings of pain while also, in time, to take steps towards healing (such as re-connecting with friends after losing a loved one).

This 19 December will mark the fourth anniversary of my accident. The life I led before the accident seems like a memory from just yesterday, but at the same time, so foreign that it feels like it came from a different lifetime. I have almost no emotional connection to the gregarious, active and capable young woman I see in pictures from before the accident. I’ve come further along in recovery than I could’ve hoped for during the initial months after the accident, while, at the same time, I’m not as far as I would wish.

I’ve learned that it takes courage to acknowledge that even in the midst of grief, there may be moments of happiness. It doesn’t need to make sense or be consistent with an overall emotional experience; there can be happy times even during long journeys of grief. It can be beneficial to put on “blinders”, so that you can only see what’s directly in front of you. What you already have, here and now, in this moment, is everything you need at this point to honor God. Try not to dwell on the possibilities or expectations about how your grief will unfold.

Not following a preconceived script on the way one “should” grieve requires courage that will shape your outlook towards the future.

3 replies
  1. Joanne Rodriguez
    Joanne Rodriguez says:

    God word always has perfect timing, In His Truth i have found great encouragement…Today marks, 10 years since the loss of my late Husband Victor. Though I was left a young widow with 3 young sons to raise, there’s no denying that the Lord has been very Graicious to us throughout the years. I know without a shadow of doubt that He has been watching over us. I’m grateful for this post. I pray the Lord Bless you, as you continue to be a vessel of Hope in the lives of others…

    Reply
  2. sharon l
    sharon l says:

    Sharon lThis post i understand greif can come back to your memory but . Where is the faith and trust . I see no scripture reference so how do you figure out how to deal with it threw god point of view. This zeem more to me about beleiving in god . That he will provide. We are not to give up on what is already promise to us. Just because it get hard for us. We got to be stronger and pray to god for our strength.Thats something we can not gain alone. With god with you he will not forsake ypu. Man or woman will but not god. we have to to remember to always depend on him who made us. Thats is my learning of life obstacle tdust and pray .

    Reply
  3. Samuel Mwaura
    Samuel Mwaura says:

    Grieving is a process that may last as long as the aggrieved person lived ….

    When Herod the great wanted to take out the new born king the boy Jesus they missed talking him out ….

    The family made a midnight escape to Egypt but in The region of Rama there was wailing and some like Rachael there was no consoling her !!!!

    Jesus when he was being lead to his crucifixion the ladies walking with him were weeping their eyes out in sadness and distress of heart …

    Jesus told them daughters of Jerusalem weep not for me … Weep for yourselves and your children !!!

    When jesus was being baptized on his 8th day Simon and old man who was waiting for the consolation of Israel said that the boy Jesus would cause him grief of the kind that pierces the heart with a dagger !!!!

    That day came when Christ was being executed on the cross ….

    Mary Magdalene felt the loss of her raboni Hebrew for master …

    When on the third day the ladies went to anoint the body of Christ they saw the empty tomb ….

    Jesus met Mary Magdalene at the mouth of the tomb but he was unrecognized by her …

    She thought he was the gardener and in her grief she said …

    Sir pliz tell me where you have taken the body of my lord I want to anoint his body !!!!

    She hear from him Mary and she recognized him and said …. Raboni !!!

    Reply

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