Your Unique Grief Journey
Whether you have experienced a recent death or a death that occurred months or years ago you have experienced grief and are on your grief journey. Your journey might be filled with questions, varying emotions, changes, relief, or acceptance. Even though you may find yourself around others who are also grieving, it is important to remember that your grief journey will be unique to you.
You may have support from a variety of sources, i.e. family, friends, neighbors, a spiritual community, grief counselor, support group or even a social group. Sometimes you reach out to these support systems as though they are your lifeline. Other times you may find reassurance that the supports are there as quiet pillars in the background. The support you receive is important, but it still does not define your grief journey. It is a piece of the puzzle that helps you through.
Common Themes in Grief
While there is no “typical grief journey” there are often common themes. In the early parts of your grief journey you may experience a roller coaster of emotions with many ups and downs, twists and turns, and starts and stops. You might even feel like you are going backwards at times. You may question if what you are going through is normal. For some there may even be periods of denial where you know the death occurred, but you still anticipate seeing the person who died, as if they would walk through the door at any moment.
As your journey continues and reality sets in you may have periods of time where your grief is almost too much to bear. With time, many people indicate that despite the hard moments, they also begin to notice they have a few good hours or, eventually, days that are strung together. For many, grief is a slow and gradual process with many difficult moments. It can seem like a continual dance of two steps forward and one step back.
As you continue on your journey you may feel like you are making some sense or order of the chaos by finding and creating a rhythm and routine that works for you. This does not mean you have forgotten about the person who has died or how they have impacted your life. You may find that thoughts and memories of the person come to mind on special occasions and holidays, or even suddenly and unexpectedly which may bring tears to your eyes or a smile to your face. You may develop rituals and traditions to remember the deceased person and continue their legacy.
Take a Look Back and a Look Ahead
No matter where you are in your grief journey, it is okay. It will continue in whatever way and at whatever pace it needs to. There is no right or wrong to a grief journey, it just is. Along the way you may find it helpful to reflect on your grief by looking at where you have been and where you are going.
If you are looking for additional information about grief, Unity has several resources available on our website (https://unityhospice.org/grief-support/#resources) for supporting children and adults through grief. Or you can also call into the Unity office for additional support.
If you found this information helpful, please share it with your network and community.