Good Grief: What Grief Is Not

Grief is not a 12 step program. It cannot be contained by your timeline for healing. It does not concern itself with your convenience. We know that grief does have stages but those stages rarely follow an order. Sometimes, in order to define the abstract, you must determine what it’s not.

Grief is not for holding up alone, so it needs be shared. It is not a disease or an abnormality. It is not meant to be “cured”. It is not a sin, so it does not require forgiveness. It is not a perspective. It is not angular. It is not a state of existence. It is not something to be rushed. It is not without purpose. And finally, it is not a result of weakness.

Grief is the residue of love. It’s a void in our person. It’s the realization that our ability to control is an illusion. Grief is a transition of reality. It can be debilitating, alarming, and awful. Most importantly, it can be different for everyone. It does not end but acceptance ends suffering. It is the cost of love. Grief gives value to moments that we may not so significantly have valued. In moments of grief, one realizes that life goes on and that can be the saddest part; when it feels like your world has stopped, but somehow everyone else is able to continue. Grief does change you but you have to be the one to decide how it will change you.

After a while, if one does not embrace grief as a gift-giving process, grief can begin to change you. It can, over time, turn into cynicism, anxiety, or depression. If you have allowed the loss of a loved one to morph you into something you are not, reach out to a mental health professional today. You can find some local resources here.