Acknowledging Despair

You thought you were “doing better.” Then, one day life seems too much to bear, you can hardly find the energy to get out of bed, to get started; you feel empty and incapable of facing the day ahead. At these times you feel your loneliness, your loss, as a terrible isolation and wonder if you can manage to survive at all.

To know that these moments or even days are a normal part of grief is to have something to hold on to - not much comfort perhaps, but at least some reassurance. The question is how to live through them. Emotions that you feel during your intense period of grieving cannot simply be laid aside, much less forgotten. They are at this time too much a part of your life. To admit them into your awareness, to allow yourself to feel them deeply, to acknowledge their “rightness” will help you to see them as part of a larger process. “Live your pain” is the advice of ancient sages, for only by doing this can you absorb the pain and make it part of your progress towards your own renewed participation in life.

Grief has a valuable lesson to teach us about our life and its meaning. The death of a loved one forces us to confront the inevitability of our own death. Tears, anger, and pain will all be a part of our dealing with grief. When this kind of grief work is done with a true awareness of just what it is that we are living through, a new understanding can emerge and with it, given time and effort, a more peaceful acceptance of the whole of life.

Being able to experience and express your most painful emotions and reactions to your grief as a step toward healing will help you to avoid becoming lost in self-pity or stuck in one consuming emotion. The path through grief has been compared to a roller coaster. Be prepared for both the ups and the downs; be patient with yourself, your mind as well as your body. You are vulnerable now as never before; acknowledge your suffering and the need for gentle care for yourself.