The Key to Resolving Grief by Dr. Lani Leary
The key to resolving grief is the feeling of acceptance that comes through validation. To resolve means to settle, to work out, or to find meaning. It does not mean to erase, or to end. Grief does not end, but grief is transformed. Grief can soften. It can be accepted. It can take on another shape, rather than taking over a person’s life. One can carry grief differently after working through grief and finding resolution. But grief does not end.
The great healer of our grief is validation, not time. All grief needs to be blessed. In order to be blessed, it must be heard. Someone must be present, someone who is willing to “hold” it by listening without judgment or comparison.
Those who grieve need both verbal and non-verbal permission to feel whatever feelings arise during grief. Their personal way of experiencing their loss should be given consent and validation. The ways they “know” their grief should be honored. Mourners need to be encouraged to express their grief in ways that are most comfortable for them, through words, tears, song, art, movement, or activity.
While grieving, those in pain need a sense of a compassionate presence. That is a person who provides a healthy relationship and companions them. It is the person who can “just be” with them in whatever way is helpful throughout the journey. There may be several people who support with their ability to be present, and each may offer different aspects that are needed. The bereaved need:
- To be cared for with your presence, permission, patience, predictability, and perseverance.
- To have their feelings acknowledged and their loved one remembered.
- To have their feelings and needs normalized.
- To be heard.
- To be seen and acknowledged.
Photo courtesy: Jeff Kubina / Foter / CC BY-SA