By Alan D. Wolfelt
Is helping mourners and grief counsellors to show grief into an adventure to be discovered from. Defining the types of heartache and its results, this consultant explores easy methods to stock, comprehend, include, and reconcile one's collected sorrow via a five-phase 'catch-up' mourning process.
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Additional resources for Living in the shadow of the ghosts of grief : step into the light
To experience healing and eventually to contribute healing to others and the world around us, we are summoned to the wilderness as we encounter life’s journey. Where we do not go willingly, sooner or later we may be dragged. The good news is that we as humans come equipped with an organic capacity to integrate our life transitions, losses and endings. Yet, when you live in a mourning-avoidant culture where grief is supposed to be “overcome,” “let go of” and “resolved,” it can be difficult, at times impossible, to remember and celebrate that we can mourn.
The griever often feels lost, alone, disoriented and confused. The concept of “liminal space” is another way to describe this feeling. Limina is the Latin word for threshold, the space betwixt and between. Liminal 44 Part Two space is that spiritual place we hate to be, but where the experience of grief leads us. We don’t like pain, sadness, anxiety, ambiguity, loss of control—all normal symptoms in the wilderness of grief. The challenge for the griever is to allow himself to be in this liminal space without rushing himself to “resolve” or “get over” his grief.
In the face of judgment surrounding feelings of loss, many people shut down and begin to live in the shadow of the ghosts of grief. Compare the griever’s conditional, judgmental place of worship with an unconditional, loving grief support-group experience. Through the lens of bad theology, it is often unacceptable to experience emotional and spiritual distress. However, in a loving, grace-filled support group, it is expected that people experience distress. In the former experience, people often project looking good and feeling good but actually get worse, and in the latter, they look bad and feel bad, but slowly get better because they learn to integrate the pain into their lives.