N1X5xFBDppcV1mVa9sNgksWfnwcrzQe8tpxFlSerT1YWe all have emotions, feelings, needs, wants and desires. The problem is we are not always very good at communicating what those are to others. Grief does not make it any easier either, because often we cannot even put into words what those feelings and emotions are.

I have a picture of one of my grandsons taken when he was crying at only a few months old. It is one of my favourite. Not that I enjoy seeing him sad, but it pulls at my heart and helps me to appreciate that everyone has feelings and needs. It also reminds me that their needs are likely not compatible with what my current daily schedule is. The beautiful thing about children is they are in tune with what they need at any given time and they do what they need to do to communicate their need at the precise time they need to. As adults, we learn to respond as needed and when needed with a child.

Naturally, part of our development is learning to control our emotions (and demands), to have patience, and to understand that instant gratification isn’t always appropriate. These traits are necessary so we grow up to be mature and responsible and so we are able to cope with a variety of life situations. Having said that, sometimes it’s like throwing the baby out with the bath water… we assume that when tragedy strikes, we should still be able to control our emotions and cope. Wrong. In the early days of grief, it is incredibly difficult to control our emotions and/or to cope. If this describes you, I assure you that you are not doing anything wrong.

On the other hand, not everyone will cry in the early days of grief. Not everyone will feel intense emotions and/or have a need to talk about what has happened. Each grief journey is as unique as the loss is. None of us will grieve the same way, nor will we move through the process in the same way. Moreover, nobody can judge how another handles the situation. We can only be supportive and provide a safe, nurturing environment which will allow us and others to do the work of mourning.

Do not assume that a person should be feeling better and back to their usual self in any particular time. Grief knows no calendar. It pays no heed to vacations, employment, commitments or family obligations. The journey is long and arduous and approaching it in a cookie-cutter manner is unfair.

To understand another’s journey requires compassion, patience, and love. To understand your need to grieve in your own way ~ in your own time… listen to your heart. It always speaks our truth.
Photo Credit: Just a Lonely Heart – (CC Attribution and share-alike 2.0 license) courtesy of Marina Carvalho

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