The reality of our human lives is that people will often come and go, leaving us void of loved ones. And regardless of when or how, expected or unexpected, we face a loss – we face grief. 

Losing a loved one changes our daily lives while our surrounding world doesn’t skip a beat. We are left to grief yet keep our commitments – our jobs, the bills, relationships, clients, dependents, events, and so on. 

While what’s alive keeps moving forward, there’s an inner part of us that becomes paralyzed. The demand of forward-motion doesn’t consider our pain, and we often feel the pressure of concealing our grief in order to complete even the simplest daily tasks. 

The problem with sheltering our grief is that grieving is a process we must go through in order to live healthy lives. I’m not saying that grieving is easy, or that anyone goes through the process perfectly. What I am saying is that there is a way to grieve that doesn’t deny the pain or deny the person we lose – it’s my way of encouraging you to grieve authentically. 

There are three thoughts I want to share about authentic grief. First, don’t miss out on the time you have with your loved ones. Love people well, and you’ll come out of a loss with memories to cherish. Choose to put down your phone when you can, look into the eyes of others, and listen while friends and family are still around. 

Second, allow yourself the grace to grieve. Let yourself have a bad day, and don’t beat yourself up about it. In addition, let yourself have a good day. You don’t need to feel like you’re offending a lost loved one with your ability to celebrate your own life and the lives of others that you still have an opportunity to spend time with. 

Lastly, remember these thoughts when others are grieving. Learn to let others grieve the way they need to. It’s tempting to try and fix someone when they go through hard things. But what they really need is for you to be authentic – for you to listen, to say “I’m sorry,” for you to grow in the areas of empathy and compassion. 

Until next time, grieve – or help others grieve – authentically.

Francine D. Ward

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