Grief is the most protean of emotions, constantly shifting from one feeling to another. One minute you’re depressed, the next you’re angry. Later you find yourself bargaining with life, and then you’re in the ozone of denial. Acceptance comes, but only after you’ve faced your demons.
The thing to remember about grief is that it’s a transformative process. If you allow all its permutations, you will come out on the other side, just as the phoenix rose from the ashes.
Grieving is healing. Even if you are 100% sure this divorce is the best decision you could have made, you are leaving someone. All your hopes and dreams for a future with that person are suddenly lost. Acknowledging that loss, surrendering to it, and giving yourself time to adjust are crucial steps in moving forward. Grief is the mosaic of feelings accompanying this process.
Breakthrough grief, a term I coined to describe those times when you are suddenly overtaken with anger, existential angst, loneliness, despair, etc., is to be expected. Welcome it. I know it can rock you to your core, but remember it’s like an inner fire blazing through a forrest of psychic material that needs to burn down to the ground to make way for new growth. This is a bittersweet process: crucial for your ultimate metamorphosis, but like a cosmic hazing in the moment.
Here’s something to think about if you are tempted to rush through your grief. Let’s pretend you see a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. It’s almost out of its cocoon, but you think you’ll help so you tear open the last little bit. The almost-ready butterfly emerges but can’t fly. Why not? Because it needed to develop its muscles further by using them to open that last little bit of cocoon.
Nature knows what its doing. We are designed with self-healing body-minds. However, if we interfere with our process we may never really fly.
Make it safe to feel all your feelings.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang