Why honest grief? And exactly what is honest grief?
Just a couple of generations ago, people were expected to grieve the loss of a loved one for a year. Now in our instant gratification society, people seem to think grief should be done when the three days of bereavement is done – certainly not months or *gasp* a year or longer. But when someone dies who filled your life with their presence, the hole in your life will be felt today, and tomorrow, and the tomorrow after that, and for the rest of your tomorrows. It is not just thoughts of today that bring sorrow. It is the overwhelming burden of facing the rest of your life without this person.
It is a gaping wound, an amputation really. Initially, the emotional amputation brings chaos. You are adrift on the sea of loss amid mountainous waves. Grief is a storm of unpredictable emotions that threatens to crash over you and drown you. You cannot imagine surviving the deep anguish and all the crazy thoughts and feelings that go with it. And since something precious was amputated from your life, you now are confronted with the choice of either accepting the journey of grief or slamming the door hard on these emotions and walking away from the love you shared and the sweet memories.
To “let it go” as people say, and refuse the difficult but cathartic experience of walking with grief means to live the rest of your life always keeping the door shut on your memories and feelings, and wondering why this grief storm keeps threatening, even years down the road.
In the long run, it is better to allow the tumultuous storms of grief to roll in for a time. And as you work through the heartbreaking thoughts and feelings, you will come to a place where you are at peace with the loss. Just like an amputation, it takes time to learn a new way of living with the person absent from your life. That is honest grief. Not letting people tell you how to grieve or how long to grieve, that is honest grief. Navigating your own path through the storms, that is honest grief. Being gentle and kind to yourself while dealing with the heavy burden of grief, that is honest grief. Finding your place of peace with the hole in your life, that is honest grief