Most of us tend to associate grief with the death of someone we love. Experiencing grief when someone dies is normal and expected. But death is not the only event that may spur grief. Life is really an ongoing series of grief and loss events. Grief can be more subtle and show up in the form of missed opportunities or things unrealized. Weddings and graduations missed, places never visited, grandchildren that may not be in the cards, holidays and get-togethers that won’t look like what we had in mind. The loss of health, a changing body, the inevitable side effects of aging. An unraveling of expectations.
What makes grief and loss feel so uncomfortable?
Maybe what makes it difficult is the letting go of those very expectations we’ve created.
Most people create expectations about how life should look long before these events ever take place in real life. Imagine a young woman in her early twenties planning her wedding before she’s engaged. The children she will have, what they will look like and what they’ll be when they grow up. But life happens. Divorce. Changed minds. Chances not taken. Unexpected game changers. Those life circumstances that are out of our control cut a hole in our storybook.
We’re often left with a gap between the expectations we had and the new reality. This is grief…that trough that lies between how we always thought it would be and how it is now.
The grieving process may be the time our minds need to climb out of the trough to the other side….to the new reality…to acceptance. It’s not usually something that happens overnight. Not after years of planning on our lives looking a certain way.
How has grief or loss showed up subtly in your life?