From Happiness to Grief

“For everything there is a season…A time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance.” -Ecclesiastes (NLT version)

In June, I talked about happiness, joy, fun, and laughter. It was a great exploration! It has been even greater to put these great things into practice in my own life. I have been having a fun summer so far, filled with laughter and fun, and I expect a lot more in the months to come.

But for this month’s topic, I’m going to do a complete 360 from happiness to grief. Or is it really a 360? Some experts believe the grieving process is a necessity to get us to the happiness and joy that we deserve. Some losses we will never get over. But allowing ourselves to grieve our losses, even our non-death losses can give us emotional healing and a sense of peace. Re-positioning a loss may be a necessary activity to help us to enjoy life again. The only way to do this is through working through the pain of grief.

I know in reflecting on my own life, the times that I have struggled the most emotionally have been when I haven’t allowed myself to grieve a loss. Or if I haven’t acknowledged the fact that I had experienced a loss of something that was special to me. It sucks, but you have to go through it.

I was inspired to talk about grief this month because I was asked to do a grief workshop at a 12 step convention, and in my preparation for that workshop, many buried feelings began to resurface.

With the workshop and other things I have going on, my schedule is a bit busy this month, but my goal is to post 5 posts this month that will represent the 5 stages of grief.

A note about the grief stages: (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) The stages are not neat and orderly stages that people complete and then move on to the next one…ultimately saying yay! I’m at acceptance, it took me exactly 6 months, so that means I’ve gotten over my loss. It’s not that simple. The stages represent ways that people can identify what they are feeling about a loss at a given point in time. You may go back and forth through the stages for as long as it takes. Something may trigger you back to depression after you feel you have accepted a loss. For those of us who have difficulty identifying feelings, the stages are a good way to work through our feelings and to know what we are feeling when we have lost something or someone special.

I have shared on my blog about many of the “death” losses that I have experienced. But non-death losses can hit us in the same way, just in a different part of our hearts. In preparation for the upcoming workshop, I read a book by Melody Beattie called The Grief Club and in the Appendix of her book, she encourages people to inventory their losses through a “Master Loss Checklist.” She lists one of the most exhaustive list of losses that I’ve ever seen. As I was going through the list, there was a loss item that jumped out of the page and screamed at me:

“Desire romantic relationship but cannot find acceptable partner.”

I thought to myself, could this really be considered a loss? Nah! That sounds pretty pathetic. Get over it Michele! It will happen…hopefully…one of these days…right?

But I realized that it’s still a loss because it hasn’t happened at this point of my life, and I thought that it would. It’s a loss of a dream.

I think I had been reluctant to grieve my singleness because does that mean I am accepting the fact that I will be single forever? But then I thought, no it doesn’t. Grieving is a process, a culmination of feelings. The process itself is not a finalization. I realized that I need to grieve my singleness at this point of my life, so that I can get to the other side. I need to grieve what I thought my love life should look like at this point in my life, so that my heart can be open to the beautiful, special person that my Higher Power will one day bring into my life.

Grieving sucks. But it’s a necessity.

So how in the world will I go through the grieving process about being single? The only way I know how to do it is to write it out and share it. So that’s what I will do.

Join me in my grief.

6 thoughts on “From Happiness to Grief

  1. This is great. I’m just now understanding how important grieving is to heal (and forgiveness, if need be). I think your revelation “loss of a dream” struck me personally, as I used to think “happily ever afters” existed and now I’m starting to truly realize that life is hard and will never be perfect! This hs been weighing on my shoulders, and I’m wondering if its this “loss of a dream” idea that I’m going for.

    Very thoughtful – thank you for sharing!

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