Thursday, April 25, 2013

Shifting Perspective in Grief

An article ran today in the Huffington Post's Healthy Living section that may be of interest to anyone who is grieving or even who knows someone else who is suffering from grief:

Griever's Gold: Cherished Memories

The advice given in this piece is reiterative of some of what I've written about in this blog, especially the way the author launches into her list by saying, "The following five techniques can help a griever shift perspective."

The insight about the way people who are grieving consistently indicate that they would not trade away memories of their loved one in exchange for having the pain of their loss erased is interesting, I think, a different kind of spin on the idea that, no matter how dire or tragic one's situation seems, it's always a wise perspective to realize that things could be worse.

I also like the way she talks about shift and how it tends to occur in grief over time; it's really quite incredible that way comfort seeps into our lives to help (not to heal, I don't think) with the rawness of the pain thrust upon us when we lose a loved one.

The third item on the author's list, "Share stories with other people," reminds me of the quote that affected me so much when I saw it hanging on the wall of the grief counseling center where I went not long after my dad's death: 

Every grief needs a thousand tellings.

Although this may not be true for everyone or in every situation, I have found the "telling" to be helpful in my own grief process.

And finally, the fifth item, "Give thanks for the gift of this person in your life," which is my favorite on her list because it is totally dependent on one's perspective: instead of feeling only sorrow and anger for the loss of a loved one, one can choose to be grateful and happy for having had him to love at all - and to have experienced the impact of that person AND to have the honor of carrying him forward.

Every time I see this portrait of my dad standing in the redwood forest, I think of the word "IMPACT."

Ashley Davis Bush, who wrote the article for the Huffington Post, is the author of a book about grief that I highly recommend: Transcending Loss - Understanding the Lifelong Impact of Grief and How to Make it Meaningful.

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