Five-time Grammy Award winner, Shania Twain bared her soul in both the reality series Why Not? (OWN) and book From This Moment On. Shania shares the heart-wrenching loss of her parents who died in a car crash when she was only 22 years old and the painful ending to her marriage following an affair that her husband and best friend had.
Shania’s story poignantly demonstrates what I wrote about in my new book Life Losses: Healing for a Broken Heart, which is that grief and loss pays no heed to age, gender, education, wealth or social status. Loss will affect us all personally in some way and at some time. Shania shared with the viewers and her readers how loss happens in different ways (death and divorce) and that grief when left unreconciled can have debilitating effects on one’s life. Shania lost her ‘voice’ and was not able to sing for a number of years following her marital breakup.
Grief is like a crop of dandelions. It spreads quickly and on a mass scale. You can take your power mower and cut it all down and before you get the gardening tools put away you can watch a bright yellow head pop right back up in the lawn. Why? Because you pushed over it… you didn’t get to the root of it!
In order to reconcile grief, you have to hit it head on… no matter how frightening, overwhelming or uncomfortable. You can’t turn your back on it. It won’t disappear simply because you stuff it away and attempt to keep it hidden by carrying on day-to-day as though it never existed. Grief is relentless and it is a master of disguise. If you don’t deal with it this time, it will surface again in some other way.
To compound matters, if you do not adequately reconcile one loss when you experience a new loss, you may be surprised that your response to the new loss is so much more over the top than a previous loss. That is because the unreconciled grief has bubbled to the surface and rolled itself into the new experience, hence, the ‘snowball effect’.
There is only one way to knock grief out and that is to deal with it. To walk through the pain and face all that you need to face with the goal of letting it go and integrating the loss into your life. Shania’s recent journey to work through unresolved grief was courageous and inspirational. It was no easier for her than it would be for me or you. Her suffering has cost her dearly and not in the monetary sense.
Shania shows herself and the world that it is never too late to do the work of grieving and mourning. In fact, it is a process that may take a lifetime.
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