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Friday, June 18, 2010

‘Getting Over’ Our Grief


I’ve often wondered how people get over their major life grief, learning to live in almost a clearly separate reality—one that most adamantly becomes two, from the context of the reconciled grief; the memory of beforehand and the reality of life afterward.

These are two equally resonant realities to live out.

And this is now my understanding—having reconciled at a personal level, as far as one reasonably can, an episode of grief on the major scale:

We were never supposed to ‘get over’ our grief, but simply accept the new reality—this effectively is good grief management; the end game.

Acceptance is Possible – ‘Getting Over’ “It” is Impossible

I find the very notion of ‘getting over’ grief and the loss of a much cherished loved one, marriage or anything else lost, totally and bizarrely preposterous.

Whilst getting to a level of acceptance appears possible—indeed, many, including myself, have arrived there—‘getting over’ grief and the harshest of losses, somehow conceives forgetting the cherished memory of the person or life situation—as if it never existed, or they or the situation wasn’t ever that important.

Acknowledging the Truth of ‘Importance’

The truth is, they or the life situation we grieve over was most important to us, and it will probably forever remain so.

These are facts of the heart we’re dealing with, not some flippant thing that bears no resemblance to actuality­—the absence of realism or importance. We can’t deny our feelings.

All people are touched by some sort of major grief at least once in their lives.

How do we rationalise it, compelling people to ‘get over’ their losses—it’s so cliché? Everyone knows it’s phony. We need a better answer­—one that makes sense—one that gives appropriate credence to the eternal value of our losses. God understands the impact of our losses. He knows us better than we even know ourselves.

Practical Matters of Acceptance

We live with our grief, best, in a funny place of acceptance.

At one level, we get there and we’re comfortable reminiscing and approaching the matters, but at another level we carry with us—at times, most often, for the rest of our lives—a tinge-like reminder of the meaning and pain we first had.

We retain it.

Indeed, this ironically—turned on its head—is a fantastic legacy.

We have something truly of God in this. The devil would have us deny the little and large chills of pain, hearkening us to a crutch. But God wants to comfort us in his embrace as we come close to this memorable pain, knowing him and honouring our loss, and better we are for embracing God and, hence, both realities.

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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