Why Grieve

A Process for Healing

Most people know, either from personal experience or through contact with others, that the grief following the death of a loved one can be very painful and overwhelming. Many do not know, however, just how important it is that we allow ourselves to experience this grief, despite every impulse in our bodies and minds to move away from the pain.

Grief is a normal and natural response to the death of a loved one. Healing from this loss and reinvesting in life may often take a good deal of time. It is critical that we allow ourselves and others the time necessary to work through this process in order to move toward health and healing. It is a very personal experience, which does not lend itself to the expectation of how fast others think one should be healed.

Grief is, in part, an expression of the depth of our love for - and connection to - this other human being who has died. As such, the experience of the feelings which make up our grief is constructive and, in fact, life affirming. As Roberta Beckman so beautifully puts it in Children Who Grieve: A Manual for Conducting Support Groups. "If no person's life were significant enough to cause weeping and if the measure of our years on earth were nothing, then we would not be real human beings.

Profound grief is preceded by deep love which gives life meaning." Through understanding that grief is important and even constructive and may not alleviate the pain we feel when someone we loves dies, it can help us to tolerate that pain, and help others in this situation to do the same. Allowing ourselves this healing process will eventually enable us to learn ways of maintaining a connection with our deceased loved one and holding the memories of our time together in life.