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Grief may become a source of Growth
Grief is, because love is #12
Have you ever wondered as human beings how we grow, not physically; but emotionally, spiritually and intellectually? How is our character shaped; and become more rounded? Is it in the good times, or the no so good times?
There is nothing like being ‘in the zone’ and at ‘the top of your game.’ People are encouraging you; there may be some accolades, some recognition, maybe even some monetary reward. You cannot believe how good life is; and start to believe that you actually have made it; whatever ‘it’ might be. Every time you participate in the your chosen ‘stage’ you know you are going to nail it, and therefore you have got into the groove of your chosen activity.
As a thirty something, with a wonderful life ahead, and a successful career path, the ‘thing’ happens from left field and it rocks your world. Whether it is betrayal, a death, loss of relationship; the impact of the ‘thing’ shakes you to the very core. Your chosen arena does not seem so clear now, and things are fuzzy, and all your confidence is sapped. What do you do? It is much easier to stay in bed, check out of the world for a while, and escape. How can you possibly carry on?
At this point one of two things may happen. The first would be that you give in to the despair, make a few calls and just disappear; and give up on your dreams. The second may be that something wells up within you, from the very depths of your inner most being, that quietly says “you can do it.” And ‘do it’ you do. In fact you ‘do it’ really well. When the breathing space happens, you look back, truly astounded at how you got through what you needed to get through.
A valuable lesson may be learned, when you discover that there is a well of resilience, courage and fortitude that you did not know you had. The tragic ‘thing’ has awakened a quality in you that you did not think possible, but it is there. It may be qualities you did not know existed if all had been plain sailing. You find that you have grown a little taller, inwardly, by the experience, and it is now to your advantage.
Athletes train, by exceeding the pain barrier, both physically and emotionally. They know that they are going to need all of themselves, both the good and the bad to become a successful well-rounded athlete. When the tough happens, like an unexpected injury, they are going to need the inner strength to be able to get back up. This sort of strength will only be found through trials, and the not so good times.
When it comes to grief, the experience can help us to access a strength we did not think we were capable of. To quote, Dr Colin Murray Parkes, who was a British psychiatrist and the author of numerous books and publications on grief, and knighted for his efforts:
“Grief can bring strength. Just as broken bones may end up stronger than unbroken ones, so the experience of grieving can strengthen and bring maturity to those who have previously been protected from misfortune. The pain of grief is just as much part of life as the joy of love. To ignore this fact, or to pretend that it is not so, is to put on emotional blinkers which leave us unprepared for the losses that will inevitably occur in our lives an unprepared to help others cope with losses in theirs.”
We will be a little more prepared to be able to cope with future losses which will inevitably come, as well as being able to help others dealing with their own losses. And instead of these times being agents of despair and hopelessness, they may be times when we discover a strength that we did not know we had, as we embrace the relationships and moments that are no longer, into our human experience, making it richer in the process. Life is not all smooth sailing, but it certainly is possible on whatever waters we may find ourselves.
The commentary in this blog is intended to be general in nature. It is just some observations from one fellow traveller in life to another. If anything in this blog raises issues for you, please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or consult with a trusted medical professional.