The death of a loved one, a broken home, a tragic illness and a catastrophic disaster are losses that occur daily. With such loss comes tremendous pain. In a world which now communicates through email, takes photo’s with phones, delivers packages across country overnight and finds true love on e-harmony dot com, it is not surprising that when it comes to pain, a quick fix is not only expected, it is demanded.
I do not know of one person who looks forward to suffering through such pain with patience. Like all other journeys in life, humans want to know how long the journey will be. The journey through grief is no exception. The question of how long it will take to travel through grief is the first one asked. Unfortunately, there is no timetable and there are many variables to recovery. The length of the journey will depend on the severity of the loss and the method used to deal with the pain.
Truly, there is no short cut to recovery. The only way to recover from loss is to first walk through grief. When it comes to walking this road, I can share a few of my experiences and interject a little of what I have observed these past few years. I have discovered that in the long run, the best way to deal with the pain of loss is often the long hard way. One cannot zap it, send it, cram it, shoot it, dot com it, email it or even overnight it. The best method of getting through the pain is the old horse and buggy way.
Before my journey of living, loving and saying goodbye I preferred dealing with pain in a more traditional means. I preferred, drinking, sleeping and working my way through loss. Drinking on the weekends, to numb the pain, sleeping pills at night to insure the days ran together, and long hours at work to avoid facing the loss. After all of that, who had time to feel anything, let alone the pain?
The first step to overcoming grief is to make a commitment to walk through the suffering rather than run from it. The previous ways of dealing with pain only postponed the inevitable - facing the loss. However, as much as I wanted to make a change in the way I dealt with the pain, I was unsure if I was capable of allowing myself to physically and emotionally attempt a different way.
Facing the grief upfront requires that the pain is felt, seen and heard. The process often takes hours longer and, many times, requires the help of others. This method involves kicking, screaming, crying and perhaps throwing things at loved ones. The pain seems to be unbearable. However, when the process is through, it is finished. The entire amount of pain was paid upfront, leaving the process complete. There are no withdrawals from having had drugs, no incisions or scars as a reminder of the pain. Within a short time, you go home to recover. And that is the goal. As we end our journey of grief, we are free to move on to the road of recovery.
Below are some ideas and suggestions that can be used to get through the pain.
Marsha Johnson is a writer, speaker and the author of Emerald’s Garden – How to grieve, mourn and recover from loss. See http://www.marshajohnson.net to sign up for your free Grief Recovery e-newsletter.