How Soon Is Too Soon to Move Forward
After the Death of a Spouse - Understanding Your Grief
By Sandy Clendenen
While grief is a universal experience, the mourning
process varies from family to family and from culture to
culture. What I am referring to as the mourning process
are the rituals that most of us grow up with about how
to behave and how to speak when confronted with a loss.
In essence, mourning rituals can be referred to as
habits or paradigms. These habits or rituals are usually
not questioned. They fall into the same category as
holiday rituals or work rituals, etc.
While there is a certain level of comfort in doing what
has always been done, there can also be discomfort or
confusion if the ritual really does not resonate with
those immersed in the actual grieving process.
In other words, doing and saying what has been the
family or cultural standard in the past may not feel
authentic or real for those who are spiraling through
their grief process.
One very common belief surrounding grief and loss for
many people is that...it just takes time to heal grief.
Think back, if you have recently experienced a loss. You
have probably heard this or said this to someone else
who is grieving.
Now, really allow yourself to feel your feelings about
how it just taking time to heal grief. Does this feel
true? Does this make sense? Do you wonder how long is
enough time to heal grief?
Do you know people who are still grieving after 10 or 20
years? Do you also know people who seem to have moved
beyond their grief in a very short period of time?
How can someone really be moving on in their life in
just a few months? If it takes time, how can this be?
And what about those who grieve for 10 or even 20 years?
Is that the normal time frame for healing grief?
And what about the very real fact that many grievers
experience of being able to instantly return to the
moment their loved one passed as if it just happened.
Does that mean they are still grieving, even if the loss
occurred many years ago?
My conclusion is that grief is not at all about time.
Grief healing has nothing to do with time. Grief healing
is a process, a very individual and personal process.
But this grief healing process needs to be nurtured and
allowed to emerge without the shroud of the mourning
cloak of shoulds from the past.
Awareness is the first step in the grief healing
process. The paradigms and habits begin to break down
when viewed through the eyes of honest questioning.
Authentic grief healing is possible when allowed to
unfold naturally within the crucible of awareness and