Crying is a natural and healthy response to grief. We always hold space in our work for people to cry. Crying helps us to release some of the pressure we hold inside of us. It is like letting a bit of steam out of a pressure cooker. Please, if you feel that lump in your throat, or a feeling of something building inside of you, give yourself permission to have a good cry. A griever that I talked to recently said that he will intentionally watch a sad movie so that he can cry. I love this.

However there are many responses to grief that are not always recognized or talked about. Some of the emotions discussed recently in our groups are, loneliness, anger, sorrow, confusion, jealousy, anxiety, fear, guilt and helplessness.

It is important to understand that these are all common emotional responses to losing someone we love. From my perspective, they all make sense. When our world is turned upside down and nothing is certain anymore, or when we turn to share a thought with our person and they are not there, or when we review and reflect and understand things in hindsight that we didn’t understand before the death. Of course these emotions will surface. The world as we know it has been ripped away. Finding our way through to a new sense of stability can take a long time.

When we say give yourself permission to grieve, we don’t mean just crying. We mean to allow yourself to feel whatever is showing up and recognize that this too is part of grieving. When we can acknowledge our experience as a natural part of grieving, we can find healthy ways to move through it.

We call them “The Uglies” here. The emotions that we don’t like to admit that we have. The emotions that can totally overwhelm us. Grief will bring all of them, or most of them, up for you and this is okay. One man I talked with said that he feels like he is playing a game of wack-a-mole – the emotion just keep popping up and there is nothing he can do about it.

It is in the allowing that we can move the emotions through us in heathy ways. It is in the acknowledging of our emotions that we can meet our pain.

Be Gentle with Yourself.

Denise Torgerson
Community Programs