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“Grief does not obey your plans, or your wishes. Grief will do whatever it wants to you, whenever it wants to. In that regard, Grief has a lot in common with Love.” ~ Elizabeth Gilbert
Grief is one of the most agonizing emotions out there.
And what makes it so agonizing is its untamable, intangible nature.
Grief has no boundaries, no rules, no end. It shows up, uninvited, in an untimely matter.
And it’s different for everyone. No one’s grief is ever the same as another—and that’s part of what makes it so isolating. Grief can trap us in longing and leave us feeling empty or lost. It can take us on a wild, dark ride that feels like we have no control over. And oftentimes, we don’t.
Grief can (and probably will) do all of these things. But if we love, we grieve. It’s a part of a beautiful life. And to me, to love is worth the aching, breaking, and shattering of my heart.
We are resilient. And we don’t have to be alone in our grief. So, even though grief has proven time and time again that it can never truly be navigated, what we can do is try—and keep trying—to flow with its wild waves.
So, in hopes to figure out how to (try to) navigate my own grief, I asked our readers for some advice, and here are the responses that struck me:
Give it permission to show up in the strangest of places, at the most unpredictable of times, and give yourself space to invite it in, not push it away. ~ Tommy
Be gentle with yourself. Grief is tough. It’s never ‘over.’ It’s a process and you don’t know where and when it will hit again. ~ Miriam
I let it come to me, visit, then move along organically on no planned path. It returns and we visit again. I think it’s difficult when other people think you should emotionally respond on their clock. Grief is natural and different for everyone. ~ Teakay
Dogs. Get a dog or spend more time with the one you have. Seriously. ~ Helene
You can’t navigate grief. It has no rules. It just shows up when it wants to. You can, however, choose how you react when it hits you in the face. You can wallow in it or you can face it and work through it. Either way, it sucks! ~ Cindy
Cry when you feel like crying. The waves come and go and come again when you least expect them. ~ Dixie
One day at a time. It’s not a cliche, it is survival. Focusing on the future can add to your grief. Just get through today, this hour, this minute, if needed. ~ Julie
Don’t let other people dictate your timeline. It takes as long as it takes, and sometimes, gets harder again for a while before it gets better. Don’t feel ashamed about it. ~ Denise
Go with the flow. ~ Julie
I think about how my loved one would feel seeing me like that. I try to remember that grief and depression are places that are okay to visit, but not to stay. ~ Dawn
Be extremely kind and patient with yourself. Don’t hit yourself when you’re already down. ~ Pam
Someone once told me, ‘grief is love with nowhere to go.’ It’s a journey. It takes a long while. Go with it. ~ Lorraine
It is a very personal experience, but don’t let anyone tell you when you should ‘get over it.’ There should be completely different words in English for different types of grief because the experience is so different for each loss. ~ David
1. Let yourself grieve. 2. As time goes by, understand that everything you miss about someone lies within you. 3. There’s no time limit and there’s no picture of what grief is supposed to or should look like. ~ Kellie
Time. Stay busy. Seek counseling. Walk. Spend time with your dog or cat or other pet. Volunteer your time at an animal shelter or nursing home or church. It keeps your mind busy and gives you purpose. ~ Sarah
Take it easy. Let feelings flow through you. One foot in front of the other. ~ Diane
Let it in and feel it. ~ Lisa
You don’t. It consumes you. It overwhelms you. It shows up whenever it wants. You just pray to get through it. ~ Mallissa
Do not try to avoid feeling the different aspects—the only route to easier ground is through the feelings, to feel more peace. ~ Timothy
Do not worry about what others think. Do not allow others to make you feel guilty for your grief. Get counseling when ready. Feel the pain deeply—do not try to bury it. ~ Winn
Feel everything. ~ Elizabeth