Grieving and loss have been thick in the air lately. At least it has been in my therapy room. The big question clients have been asking me is, “How long do I have to endure this pain?” After sitting in silence and allowing the energy to settle in, I review what I have witnessed in the grieving process.
The first stage is Reeling. After the shock of loss settles in, we begin to stagger and stumble, not quite knowing where to grab on to life. Feeling lost, we reach for stability but nothing feels like it did before. We begin to wonder if we’ll ever feel sane again, happy again, and just plain want to live again. We may even feel guilty for having those thoughts, and yet, the pain overpowers the guilt. Life as we knew it is gone, with no light in sight.
And then we begin to Feel. Reality of the loss drops in and we realize we’ll never have the old back. As we work through our feelings between the tears, anger, confusion, and bewilderment, a shadow of acceptance begins to crack through the tunnel. We begin to see the light, and then the roller coaster comes winding around again. One minute we feel like life is returning to our normal, and the next minute, the pain hits like a ton of bricks again. It is at this point that I remind my clients that the roller coaster ride is part of the process of grieving. We continue to work through those feelings until the span of peace is longer than the span of unrest. In time, as we work through all emotions the reality of what is now becomes the new normal. This doesn’t mean the loss is forgotten. It simply means the loss is accepted.
Once acceptance has calmed the roller coaster, we move into the healing stage. It is here we begin to have a new relationship with the loss. If it is a loved one who has passed, we may begin to connect with them on a spiritual level. I know when I lost my dad the reeling and feeling stages were excruciating for me. It wasn’t until the healing stage that I began to relate to him through energy, signs, and dimes. Yes, he leaves me dimes. I have a client who knows it’s her mother saying hello every time she sees a cardinal fly by. Another client’s rose-bush blooms in the middle of winter. It was his wife’s favorite part of their garden. A friend of mine sees her father with every butterfly that persistently follows her. Open your heart and notice these signals from your loved ones. They are full of love and light in their world and they want you to feel happiness in yours.
There are many different types of losses that happen in our lives besides losing a loved one who passes through the veil. We experience loss with employment, relationships, money, homes, pets, health, the list goes on. Everyone’s experience and length of time in the stages is different. It took me two years before I came to acceptance of my father’s passing. I was reeling for about six months, just trying to find my footing. And then I was painfully feeling for about a year and a half. It was a day of enlightenment when the light finally broke through the tunnel. I felt joy in the realization I didn’t have to pick up the phone to talk to him anymore, I could talk to him any second, any time of the day. He wasn’t only with me in human form, he was with me and around me always. And we were one. That’s the day my spirit crossed the veil with a new understanding of our spiritual connection. Way beyond this world. Way beyond our intellect. A beautiful dimension extension.
For those of you staggering through this process of grief, doing your best to catch your breath, I ask you to trust not only the grieving process but the spiritual awakening that is inside of all of us. There is so much more to us than these shells we habitate while here on earth. When we stop reeling and move through our feelings, it is our spiritual expansion that delivers the healing. It is then that we realize what we thought was lost never left our side.