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Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Two Very Valid Expressions of Grief


Some grieve publically. Others grieve privately. Many more convey a mix of both expressions as they cherish their loss in manners of anguish.
Grief is a consequence of love lost. When we first grieve right, entering into the hell of a time where loss is like dying, we endure great pain, but such pain is never a waste, though it may seem exactly like life and joy are finished.
There is no right or wrong way to grieve, but honesty is blessed and denial is cursed. The blessing is worked out by faith; to deny nothing that is in the real experience of the person grieving. Obviously that’s about courage. Honesty, the ability to receive and abide to the truth, is a twin sibling of courage. To enter into the material of grief requires honesty and courage and both are interchangeable when it comes to grief.
To grieve publically or privately – or a mix of both – both require honesty and courage.
To Grieve Publically
Public grieving is a grief that takes place external to our person; it requires interpersonal relations at the very least. Some people do this naturally. They need to. They reach out to people who can support them. They receive such support and by that they do well. Others positively need interpersonal support. I can recall a grief where I would pour out the same stories and those listening would simply listen patiently; enduring the repetitiveness of my lament. It’s okay to need to grieve this way.
To Grieve Privately
So many of us need to grieve privately. We sense that the emotions are too raw for expression; that being vulnerable is a weakness too great. We wish to remain safe. Or perhaps it’s the case that we view our grief as sacred – between us and the Lord. A sacred grief is an act of worship, just as much as a grief that tips us over the edge into the realm of others’ lives as they support us. Private grief has a precious sanctity about it; it is not a denial of the reality of loss; it is as valid an expression of grief as the public expression.
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Expressing our grief publically is not hallowed more than a private grief. To express a grief privately is, possibly, to know God’s Presence in that space. To express a grief publically is to receive support. Better by far to grieve both ways.
We should always accept our own style of grieving and not be coerced into grieving some way others think it should be done. Everybody’s grief is unique and sacred.
© 2014 S. J. Wickham.

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