Grief Never Ends, But It Changes
How long does grief take?
The journey with grief is not the same for everyone, and there is no measurement of time for how you experience it because your physical loss is something that you carry the rest of your life to some degree.
If you’re grieving the death of a loved one, you may find that others gauge how long they think it should take for the grieving process. Society thinks of loss as something you have to “move on” from or “get over.” They expect you to go back to being who you were before your grief.
Grief has to be experienced to change in positive ways.
When I experienced the unexpected death of my only child, followed by the unexpected death of my mother just three weeks later, my spiritual teacher shared with me something that became important for me on my journey with grief. Her advice was not to look at grief at something to be healed but rather something that has to be experienced. Nothing and no one will ever fill the space that my daughter had physically in my life. Ever. The loss of my future joy as a mother to my child and a grandmother to children she never had cannot be made whole.
“Grief is the price we pay for love.” Queen Elizabeth II
Accepting that my daughter is not here with me physically is incredibly difficult. While I believe her death was part of her soul’s plan and mine, it was not part of the life plan my ego created, and it wasn’t supposed to be this way. No matter how much I resisted accepting this, I couldn’t change this fact.
What I have learned is that resisting the acceptance of our loved ones not being here physically after death creates more pain. No amount of food, alcohol, drugs, etc., can make the pain go away either. The pain is there, and it has to be experienced. It’s natural to feel the darkness of grief, but it’s not natural to stay there.
People often think of grief as an emotion, but I think of it as a ball of emotions all tangled up together. There’s everything from deep sorrow and depression, anger, blame, and shame, to gratitude, love, and joy. It’s critically important to learn how to express those emotions in healthy ways as they come up. When you hold them in or push them away, those emotions fester until they erupt like a volcano and come out in ways that are often self-sabotaging.
When you find healthy ways to experience the emotions you feel in response to grief, the nature in which you grieve can transform, and you can find your way out of the darkness. Even though you're grieving, you can find ways to live with purpose, meaning, and even joy in living after loss.
You can learn more about healthy ways to express grief in my “Expressing Grief” and “Breath Work for Grief” articles.
Grief Transforms You
Grief can be one of the biggest catalysts for change, and you may never be the same again. It can bring up deep, soul-searching questions like, “Who am I…Why am I here? …What happens when you die?” etc. The answers don’t usually come easily, and you’ll likely find yourself on a quest to find those answers at some point. The “who” that you were before the death of a loved one may have also died as you become more self-aware, and if you accept that, grief can be a spiritual awakener.
On my journey with grief, I found that the things I tolerated before my daughter died were no longer acceptable. My worst fear became a reality when she died, and the things I used to fear became petty. I stopped obsessing over my to-do list. I let go of relationships that were superficial or one-sided. I realized I had not been putting the things that were more important first. And while I could have stayed stuck in the shame, blaming myself for what I did or didn’t do right as a mother, over time, I chose to use this awareness, this wisdom, as a call to change the things that weren’t in alignment for me anymore.
I also discovered that when you transform, the nature of your grief does too. When you can shift your consciousness from shame, blame, anger, and sorry to acceptance, love, hope, and courage, the way you experience grief will be different. This takes time, and the process is not linear. You may feel hope one day and sorrow the next. You may feel courage one month and shame the next. Spiritual healing and development has been the biggest support for me, which is why I teach this to other women.
Allow grief to move through you in whatever way it shows up. Seek professional support if you need it. Give yourself the time and space to grieve. Connect with people who understand that grief has to be experienced if your family and friends don’t understand.
Your loved ones in Spirit really are still with you.
The biggest shift in perspective that I experienced on my journey is in knowing that our loved ones in Spirit really are still with us, the Other Side does exist, and our love goes on between worlds. The death of my beloved daughter set me on quest to find proof of the afterlife, and this proof opened the doorway to hope and personal transformation.
I was able to go from wishing I could die to so that I can be with her, to developing a new relationship with her on the Other Side and living the rest of my life with purpose, knowing I will be with her again when it’s my time.
You can find out more about my personal story at my website www.KimCoots.com/about.
Be gentle with yourself
Grief may be the most difficult experience you will ever have. Learning to live with grief takes a great deal of self-love, self-care and compassion. And you are worth it. When you have hard days, give yourself even more. When you forget, forgive yourself and keep going. You are not alone. While grief may never end, it does change and your love between worlds goes on.