November 27, 2015

Honoring Regret in the Face of Grief.


Grief is a universal emotion, it does not discriminate.

No matter skin color, language or background, the instantaneous moment of “nothing-will-ever-be-the-same” grips us all.

The mind goes blank, denial and panic battle for supremacy. The clutch in the middle of our chest squeezes the same whether we are mother, father, sister, brother, daughter, son, friend, young or old.

The angry howl claws up from the depths of our being.

Some let the shout free—the pain from every cell in the body magnifies the sound as it rips through the placid air. The sadness echoes in our soul, rumbling around and tinting everything gray.

The rational brain tries to cope with grief. The immutable flash of life changing doesn’t seem real.

We negotiate internally, even externally, to hold back the flood tide of reality. Like a bursting dam or a failed levee, no amount of holding the cracks together or sand bags to staunch the tide will be able to prevent the crashing of grief.

It washes over us with the force and fury of an epic display from Mother Nature.

As part of the grieving process, one becomes intimately familiar with the word “should.” It dominates thoughts, trying to make up for lost opportunity.

What we should have said or done better, fills the mind. The brain will do what it can to discharge the angst, anger and sadness from grief.

The “should” thoughts call out regret, the internal chatter telling us we did not do our best. We need to recognize this coping mechanism, acknowledge it and let ourselves move through the tough feelings at our own pace.

“Should” can be a stepping out point, a guide to how we can do better. There are no guarantees in life. The compounded thoughts of everything we should have done, will echo relentlessly.

We silence the loop by owning our actions, mourning loss and honoring regret. We are solely accountable for what we do or don’t do.

Everyone has a finite amount of time on the Earth. In the busy, chaotic, 24/7 stream of life, it’s easy for priorities to blur and we lose focus.

In a brutal fashion, grief brings us back to our true north and what is important.

Acute grief ebbs, and the sharpest edges fade. We are left to go forward with a new normal.

We never forget—triggers pluck our memories on a regular basis. Life may not be what we intended or planned, but we can make it beautiful and fulfilling.

The gold nugget strained from the regret and should loop is an appreciation for the beauty and transitory nature of life.

Regret can be a valuable teacher by prompting us to learn and do better.

We honor grief, and those lives lost, by setting an intention to do our best.



This is the Best Response I’ve ever Heard about How to Process Grief.

Author: Tammy Korade

Apprentice Editor: Brandie Smith/Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickr/martinak15

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Tammy Korade