We can’t grieve it all at once. Sometimes we have to let our grief in a bit at a time. Alan Wolfelt, one of the authors featured in our library, calls it dosing.

One of our group participants said, “I can’t look at it all at once. It’s too big.”

Grief can become overwhelming and sometimes frightening when we allow it all in at once.

One way to dose, or let a bit in, is to find a ritual that can allow you to grieve within a container.

Perhaps you can use an object, like a candle, a stone, or memorabilia, like a picture album, or a blanket. Find something that is meaningful to your relationship with your person. It might be the garden, or the pathways behind the house. Then put a time limit on your ritual. How much time do you think you can manage without getting lost in your grief, without it overwhelming you? Sometimes it is ten minutes, sometimes it is an hour; you get to decide because only you know how much you can hold at any given time.

I once talked with a woman who was feeling a lot of anger because of the death of her husband. She had no tolerance for others. She knew it was because of how much her life had changed because he had died.

She decided that she could write her anger down in a journal and she decided that she could only manage to do that five minutes at a time. She wrote in her journal every time she felt her anger take over and after a time, the anger dissipated. She said it helped her regulate herself and so the anger wasn’t coming out on the people she loves. She allowed it in bits at a time.

Often people in our groups say that the group is the only place they can allow themselves to grieve. That is their container, their way of dosing.

Remember, we are all unique. This is your journey, and so you have the right to let in as much as you can, when you can.

Be Gentle.

Denise Torgerson
Community Programs