I get asked all the time, "How do you do grief all day?" I'm certain that I always have that deer in the headlight look on my face. My response usually goes along the lines of, "How could I not do grief all day? Look at the world we live in. It's hurting." Then, in return, I usually get their deer in the headlight look.
You see, from my perspective, grief is a normal and natural response to loss. People literally don't realize how many things they do wrong when trying to deal with the hurts their hearts are experiencing. When I first meet a group of grievers, I usually ask, "So, how are you dealing with the pain inside of your heart?" I normally hear things like, "I cry a lot." Well, that is a good thing to cry a lot after your heart has been broken. Crying is cleansing and natural to help release some of that hurt we carry during the grieving process.
So then I will ask, "How are you sleeping? How is your concentration? How is your eating habits? How about your sex life?" I stand there watching everyone search their minds to find the answers. Slowly, they begin to stammer with a few answers and say, "I toss and turn all night and I can't seem to fall asleep at all." or "All I want to do is sleep. I sleep with the help of medication or drink alcohol to help me relax." When it comes to concentration, they reply, "Concentration is extremely difficult. I can walk in a room and forget what I went in there to get." They answer about their eating habits with an array of replies like, "Are you kidding? All I want to do is eat!" And others reply, "I can't eat at all. The thought of eating makes me feel sick." The sex question is not normally answerer in front of the group, but as friendships, trust, and the ability to be brutally honest, they begin to confess things like, "I don't seem to have the same desire for sex as I used to." Or, they admit, "I watch porn as often as I can and I can't seem to get enough sex." How Interesting ... Now let's move on to "What"
As I look across the room full of my "How" - I have to ask, What? Little do they know, there is an entire lifetime of what brought them to the group. They all think it is because they just lost a loved one through death or divorce. They have no idea that as a small child, the all started with a little hurt pocket, and were never taught how to say goodbye to the pain they felt. So, as they each grew older, they made a trade. They exchanged their hurt pocket for a backpack. Now they all have more room to store more hurts. Now they are carrying much bigger hurts. They each have a secret place to place them all inside, yet they never, ever want to open it. Too much pain in there to bring out, so they do things like we all have been taught to do. They try to give it time.
What does time do? It ticks on and on ... That's really all time knows how to do. So the pain and hurt that is carried just stays inside, unresolved. As they grew older, they did what all people do. They replaced losses, they did that emotional eating, they drank, smoked, popped a few more pills, and they got really, REALLY busy! I mean, let's face it, it's working for them or so they think. They have a backpack full of hurt ... What ever makes them ask, "Now where did I put my backpack full of hurt?"
Their lives eventually turn into a lot of guilt, shame and unforgiveness. Once this happens, you have a room full of grievers who are on their second, third or fourth marriage, kids, a demanding job they hate, and they are now realizing they are the proud owners of a U-Haul Trailer packed full of backpacks, and boxes of unresolved grief and losses.
Now it's time to take some action. This is where I lose a few members because it has become overwhelming at this point. So they return to what is know as familiar, and continue to add more baggage. That's okay, they're just not ready. We part as friends and sometimes they call and ask, "What do I need to do to make some changes about all those losses?" We just simply pick things up from where we left them. As for the one's who are ready to push their sleeves up, get inside that dirty U-Haul and begin the sorting process, this leads to my reason Why.
These people are sick and tired of not feeling good. They battle things like depression, addictions, and their relationships are untrustworthy. These folks are desperate for change. They are sick of being ordinary and they are ready to get out of the places called familiar. They know they need change and they are willing to do the dirty work! I love these people! They're asking, "What happened to me?" They have WIT - Whatever It Takes! These are my people, my warriors in the making, my Tribe!
They are pulling out all of it from the hurt pockets, to the backpacks, and on to the big boxes inside the U-Haul. They want to tools offered to heal and feel normal again. They are exhausted from the anger, depression, addictions, and business. They want to be able to trust again, and have healthy relationships. They are unstoppable! So we get busy sifting and sorting. We take breaks in between and eventually we step back and see an empty U-Haul, ready to be returned for someone else to come along and use it.
What happened to all that chaos, frustration, confusion, sadness, sleeplessness, addictions, and loneliness? What? They received a few simple tools. They are no longer asking questions like, "What happened?" and "What was I thinking?" "What took so long?" As the people around them are asking, "What is so different about you?"
Oh! Let's not forget about the success stories I get to hear - How they moved forward and built their dreams, mended broken relationships, and how their heart felt full of things like love and gratitude. How they released their guilt and shame and made room inside for more peace and harmony. How they were able to make plans and dream again. How they fell in love again. How they were able to works the steps in their own addiction recovery with so much more ease. So, I hope this helps with my 'How' do I work with grief each day.
But before I close, please look closely at the utmost important reason ... my 'WHY'
From My Heart to Yours!
Kim - (a.k.a. The Grief Lady)