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Here I am at 48, and the majority of my work is related to grief work either in the creation of talks, articles or groups, and therapy for those experiencing different types of grief.
My own lived experience has brought me to this. At the start of my career, a clinician said over coffee, “Grief isn’t sexy.”
This grabbed my attention. He said this statement again as he smiled. What he meant is the money isn’t dedicated to what isn’t appealing and valued.
Grief work and resources—although needed and necessary—are not the flash-in-the-pan-grab-your-attention, sexy kind of work. At the time, I didn’t grasp this, and now I do. We, as a culture, avoid the painful stuff and “feelings.” We tend to use other things to cope and get us through like food, drink, drugs, shopping, and sex.
We don’t want to feel the difficult pain of grief, and yet it has some great gifts to offer.
My own grief has taught me the depth of love. Grief in the darkness of night introduced me to “Hope.” And Hope and I became friends. Hope introduced me to Grace and Acceptance and Tolerance, and the friends’ list multiplied. In the darkness of solitude and my own pity party, I found the inner workings of my own resilience.
There is nothing sexy about this journey. In fact, it brought up the things that I have so desperately tried to hide from myself and the world.
If I am honest, grief became a friend, and I know this sounds strange. I want to continue to explore and write about the gifts of grief, and this is just the start. My own grief has provided me with empathy and compassion for myself and others.
Today, while hiking on a snowy trail, I came upon several people who stopped to talk and share their day. I offered presence and shared my walk with a smile. Everyone has a story and challenges, and most people hide away the pain behind the smiles. We forge on and trudge through. Meeting others on the path, I took the time to connect and experience joy. This experience made me feel “alive and vibrant.”
Grief work has opened me up to other possibilities, which are abundant. The gifts of grief have shown me my own gifts.
Wherever you are on your life journey, I encourage you to get in touch with yourself and your own grief and pain. We can let go of the masks and persona and step into our own truth, which is the beauty of our true essence.
So grief isn’t sexy, but darling, not everything needs to be. This society has focused on what is attractive and shiny. When we do the work, we are like the phoenix emerging from the fire, and we are free to just be.