It is a Process After All

Ink on deli paper – Words: Helen Keller

It has been five months since my father passed away, and our lives are moving forward. My Mom is doing very well, taking each day as part of the process. That being said, I can tell that every once in a while we all have that glazed look on our face as we manage moving forward into a new world where he is no longer here. I am still adding to the 5 Stages of Grief Journal, and this piece was my most recent entry. These words from Helen Keller seem to fit where we are at this stage in our grief:

I do not want the peace that passeth understanding. I want the understanding that bringeth peace.

-Helen Keller

In any loss it can be hard to navigate all the emotions that bounce us around like a ping pong ball. One day we laugh, the next day we cry, and then on the third day we sit and stare into a blank chair thinking about what we are missing. And then it all starts over again, with each day bringing an emotional smorgasbord to our lives. One of the best things this journal has done for us all – and everyone who has read it – is that it reminds us that how we are feeling is normal. It is the grieving process, which is first and foremost a process. It is not a clean line from point A to point B. It is not logical nor does it make us less than ourselves because we are feeling this way. When we experience loss this is the process, moving from one emotional spectrum to another then back again, sometimes within the same moment in time.

This grieving process applies to any type of change – one we wanted, one we didn’t, or even one that surprised us last Tuesday. We may feel this way about a cat, a job, an older car we had to replace, a person, a place or a favorite thing. If we judge ourselves silly or emotionally unstable because we grieve for a cat, or a job, we are dooming our emotional intelligence to be stunted and immature. When we embrace our emotions and allow them to guide us along this journey, facing them with courage and honesty, giving ourselves the space and time to grieve (over whatever it is) THAT is when we find healing and peace. That is when we understand.

So whatever change you are experiencing, whatever emotional ride you are on, whatever that ping pong game of life has served you today…let it happen. Give yourself the gift of time and space to live out the grieving process. For it is a process that has a beginning and eventually an end. Only you will know when you have reached peace and acceptance.

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