Walking the Path of Grief is Like Peeling an Onion

Onions January 23 2014The grief journey is like peeling an onion ~ there are layers and layers to the loss and there will be many tears!

Tears have long been misinterpreted as a sign of weakness. We all know males who were told from a young age, “Big boys don’t cry.” For women, while it is more acceptable for us to weep, the acceptance is often couched in labels such as: “high strung, over-emotional, drama-queens, or hysterical.” Neither is correct. In fact, it’s all bunk. Yes, there is no doubt that some people can be overly dramatic; however, crying is a normal response to loss.  Moreover, tears are a natural way for our body, mind and spirit to shed the stress and feelings of sorrow.

There are times when we can’t put our feelings into words. Crying is a perfectly healthy way to release those emotions. Other times the heartbreaking reality of what is happening is so overwhelming that the body has to do something to let go of the pain. Isn’t it far better to go through a box of Kleenex than to inch yourself towards a heart attack or other physical response? I think so.

You may have encountered someone who responded to your tears with statements like: “Don’t cry.” “It’s okay.” “It’s not that bad.” “It’s not worth crying over.” Here is the truth why these people attempt to close the flood gates for others ~ they have not got the ability to be present to pain. Their efforts to stop the tears are about them… not the person who is crying.

So how do you convey support to someone who is distraught? Simply be present and allow them to feel what they need to feel for however long they need to feel it. Don’t attempt to suppress their tears. It’s okay, and loving, to gently place a hand on their shoulder, arm or leg to let them know that you are there and will be there for however long it takes.

Moreover, remember this: People can die from a broken heart ~ no one has died from crying.

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