Hi, I’m Gabrielle Michel, Founder and President of Graceful Grieving, Inc. and this is my take on grief.
Loss is loss, grief is one of the most common human experiences and if we choose to have empathy and compassion for each other, we can overcome anything! Losing a child transcends race, color, creed, national origin, ancestry, sex, marital status, disability, religious or political affiliation, age, sexual orientation and even some species. Grief is a natural response to loss, however, grief is not a place to live. No one can get around grieving because it’s an action we must take to find joy again.
If you were given the choice between diving into the darkest depths of the ocean, fully equipped with all of the gear needed to handle whatever you might encounter, OR being slowly dragged down by an 80-pound anchor while you flailed frantically to keep your head above water, which would you choose?
Well, when it’s put that way, I’d have to choose diving into the depths. Grief is a lot like plunging into the depths of a dark unknown ocean. When we plunge into grief, we fear we will never resurface. So we choose instead to frantically tread water while lugging an 80-pound anchor that slowly drags us to the very place we were trying to avoid. How ridiculous is that?
In July of 2004 my brother died, five months later, my infant daughter died as well. It was as if my soul knew that the two losses combined were more than I could handle, so I put fully grieving the loss of my brother on hold. It took a great deal of energy just to get through the day and I felt heavy and tired all the time. The blocked sadness also blocked my ability to experience love and joy to the fullest.
On the third year anniversary of my brother’s death, it hit me: my brother was gone. That is when I began to really process my grief. I dove in by writing, reading and sharing about my loss. It’s been eight years and I have resurfaced. After four years I am sure people thought, “Honestly, it’s been years, shouldn’t she be over it by now?” I can’t help but wonder if I hadn’t put my sadness about my brother on hold and given myself the time to grieve, would I have been able to resurface sooner? My guess is yes. My energy started returning just this year! I am starting to feel more love and joy in my everyday life more than ever before. Having processed my grief doesn’t mean I won’t continue to miss my brother, my baby and even my friend, but as long as I allow myself to stay in the moment, feel my sadness and let it come up and out, I will continue to be empowered.
Do not be afraid to dive into your grief. Get the tools and support you need to work through your sadness and you will avoid a lifetime spent in darkness fighting to get to the light. If you need support or would like to learn more about the tools needed to effectively process your grief, please contact me by email or phone. I would be honored to be your spiritual grief companion. You, too, deserve to live a life filled with energy, love and joy.