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Discussion of Grief and the Human Condition - Part 1

September 1, 2010 by admin  
Filed under From Our Members

This is part one of a two-part series by 10 Million Clicks For Peace contributor, Corry Roach. We will feature the second part tomorrow.

It is true that the more we make peace with who we are, the greater quiet wisdom we seem to project into the world around us. Especially when those big lessons in life throw us a curve ball, it takes awhile for us to find our way back to Center again. Within those intense times of grief and growth, we do actually have immense opportunities to evolve as a person. Hence the saying, when hardship visits us in this life journey, of getting bitter or getting better…

Understanding the importance of peace making within ourselves first, it does eventually change the world, one person at a time. We must first change our own world for the better before we can presume to affect the lives of those around us with peace.

Acknowledgement of the role of grief and mourning in any culture is important, if we are ever to create peace. As a nurse, I recognize and honour the significance of cultures and their importance in how we resolve grief individually as well as communally. However, we must acknowledge the inner conflict that goes on as we deal with grief issues in our personal lives, before we can expand and move into higher and more peaceful realms of function and consciousness in our outer world of family and community.

Most people don’t really know how to grieve, I’ve discovered. We are so much a product of what we learned in childhood, and that paradigm holds strong unless we make the conscious choice to change it. In our western culture, there are so many ‘fast fixes of instant gratification’ that we don’t know what to do when grief and loss come to roost on our doorstep for a time. Here are some solid facts to consider:

Working through the mourning of a significant loss in one’s life takes much longer than most people think. It is important to go through each significant day at least once, such as birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Some losses take longer, such as a death that “lives in your house.” Losing a child or partner is a more complicated loss to deal with, as we are faced with it consistently until we learn to resolve our pain into peace about it. Death of children defies Nature’s natural order; we are not meant to survive our offspring, and so that windstorm is particularly devastating. Statistics tell us that 78% of bereaved parents divorce, 92% within the first year after the death of their child. Often there are cracks in the marriage before the child’s death, which become chasms after such an event, and so risk of loss begetting greater loss is very real in these situations.

Learning while we mourn and heal takes time; from 18 months to two years. It takes time to learn to laugh again, hope again; to move on into life with a feeling of more than just survival, and finally into new conviction and affirmation. Grief work is a hard, messy business, after all! Understanding that the life of our loved one has ended, but that the relationship has not, is a key factor that often gives us permission to grieve and feel our heart’s emotions.

Sometimes we hide our grief like it is something to be ashamed of. The bereaved wear a mask of numbness, competence or humour, pretending that all is fine in our world, when nothing could be further from the truth. Only when we are alone do we give vent to tears, anger or grief, or we cry ourselves to sleep at night. We feel the world goes on despite our world being shattered. I am not surprised by all the different self help groups that have sprung up over the years. Here individual groups of people seek a safe place of sanctuary where they are accepted and understood with compassion, rather than judged out of ignorance. I believe we have so much to teach one another, and I hold great hope that education and literacy on grief, spirituality and death education will one day become a course of required study for students in health sciences/health services professions.

Part two posted tomorrow.

Corry Roach’s website, www.ByGraceofMourning.ca offers personal and professional insight and education into the grief journey for those who mourn, from professionals to the bereaved and all who love them. Although the main focus is bereavement, loss of loved ones (or parts of ourselves) to terminal illness, dementia, aging, divorce/relationships/addictions are also discussed, as well as how to offer support. Grief resolution within ourselves is imperative, enriching our lives with personal empowerment as we work toward a life of spiritual meaning and inner peace.

Julian Kalmar and Rick Beneteau want to know if you've got what it takes to step up and be a leader in the new world transformation. CLICK HERE to find out.

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