When I was a little girl, I sometimes tried to imagine what it would feel like to lose somebody I loved.
I could imagine only the sketchiest approximation, though. I knew I would be very sad, but had no weight or measure of that sadness and couldn’t imagine its nuances. All I knew is that it was likely to be a grief so enormous, I might not survive it.
A lot of years have passed since then, and I’ve lost a brother, several close friends, and my parents. And in a way, I’ve been granted one of the secrets of the universe: the knowledge that as terrifying as grief is, we almost always survive it.
We fear grief as much as we feel it, which only makes our burden heavier. But grief cannot kill us (without our cooperation) so we don’t have to add to our pain with fear.
What we might fear when we feel grief:
The reality of grief is:
The holidays are difficult if you’re facing a fresh loss, and in light of our national grief over the tragedy in Newtown. But we can’t hide from grief and don’t have to.
Sometimes we have to just force ourselves to succumb to grief rather than try to flee it, trusting that our fears will not come to pass, and that we will feel joy again.
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Last reviewed: 18 Dec 2012