We grieve what might have been and what is no more. Sometimes grief is a sigh for a missed opportunity. Sometimes grief is for something or someone we have lost. Sometimes grief accompanies us for years, returning with unanticipated reminders, even in our sleep.
When grief threatens to overwhelm us, denial can kick in. We may deny that our child’s condition is as desperate as others see it to be. We may deny how lonely we are. We may deny our pain. We numb ourselves emotionally in order to get through the day. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We will face the truth and grieve when we are ready.
There’s no right way to grieve
In my practice, I see that there is no right way to grieve and no right time or timetable. But when we are in touch with our grief, when we are ready to experience all the feelings related to it – the sense of loss, the anger, the sadness, the bitterness – we can begin to move through it.
This can be hard to do alone. There are support groups for children who have lost their parents and for parents who have lost their children. There are Facebook groups for widows. There are grief counselors and books on grief.
Grieving with others
But grievings can also be hard to do with others, particularly family members. That is because everyone grieves in their own way and in their own time, cycling back as necessary. This can give rise to misunderstandings and anger and even break families apart for a time.
We need to be gentle and generous with others – and with ourselves.
Grieving is painful. How much more painful, how empty, how meaningless life would be if we never had anything to grieve for.
Estate Planning attorney, Terry Garrett, is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is active in the Texas and Austin Bar Associations. She graduated with honors from Cornell University. She was on the Dean’s List at Wharton Business School. She earned her J.D. at Columbia Law School, receiving the Parker Award and a Mellon Fellowship.
She assists families of people with special needs, people planning for the retirement years and people administering estates.