What Is Grief Work?

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By Nancy W. (Part 1 in a series)

The classic grief process

Weaving
Grief work is finding a way to put your loss into perspective and to weave your loss into the fabric of your life.

In 1969, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote her first book, On Death and Dying. She identified stages of grieving: shock and denial, sadness, anger, bargaining and acceptance. At first it was thought that people all went through them in some particular order … time taught Elisabeth and many others that there is absolutely no order … that a person can experience all of these things in the space of a few hours and over and over in different orders.

There is no right or wrong way to experience grief, but some ways are healthier, and lead to more resolution. I have had the honor of knowing Elisabeth, and her work was instrumental to my healing after my first husband died.

What is known now, is it is very important to grieve, to do the grief work which has been put on your plate.

What is grief work?

Grief work is finding a way to put your loss into perspective and to weave your loss into the fabric of your life. It is allowing feelings, working through them, asking for and receiving comfort. It is remembering the good times and the bad and getting them in perspective. It is memorializing your lost loved one in your heart or in many other ways. It is honoring your lost loved one by going forward a better person for the gift of that person’s life in your life, no matter how brief.

Editors note: Nancy W. has given us permission to divide her “long post on grief” into this series of five articles:

Part 1 – What is Grief Work?
Part 2 – Venus and Mars: Crucial Differences in Grieving
Part 3 – The Grieving Year
Part 4 – The Big D: Depression
Part 5 – The Tapestry

 

photo credit: hans s via photopin cc