Grief is a stubborn thing. Once it descends on you, which it will sooner or later, it insinuates itself into every corner of your life, and tampers with your energy, your optimism, your security. It can even call into question your most dearly-held beliefs. And it always stays longer than you expected.
Ideas about how to deal with grief are equally stubborn. Oddly, with all the discoveries by researchers and grief therapists of new ideas and practices, the conventional wisdom about grief hasn’t budged since 1969 when the 5 Stages of Grief model was born.
Waves of Grief will introduce you to a number of new approaches and will encourage you to try them on for size. These new ways have the potential to put you in charge of your own grieving in a way that will create greater effectiveness, peace of mind, and wisdom. At the same time, they can reduce unnecessary suffering, feelings of failure and despair.
Grief is powerful and inevitable. The best tools to answer it shouldn’t be locked away in a researcher’s closet or a therapist’s office. They should be in your hands, starting right now.
If you accept conventional wisdom about grief, here is what you’ll face: A long and lonely highway, a trail of tears, where you march through five stages of grief that involve various forms of suffering. You will eventually arrive at your final destination – passive acceptance of your loss. It is as if you step into misery at one end and are deposited at the other end finally able to feel better and resume a normal life.
New thinking about grief imagines a healing journey that includes suffering and joy and all the other emotions in between. It says that grief is full of discovery and decisions and actions. It says that you must design your grieving style yourself to fit your needs, and that it need not look like anyone else’s. It includes forming a team of guides and companions to travel with you, and fresh ideas that challenge the old way. Its destination is a revised life shaped by newly-gained wisdom and the many unexpected, if unwanted, gifts that such active grieving can bring.
What You Will Gain from This Site
How to Use This Site
Grief ebbs and flows and looks different day by day. This site will be here when it has something to offer that you need, but may be too much to absorb in one visit. If you visit regularly, you may notice that different topics catch your attention on different days and speak to your current needs, so each visit will be different.
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Visit us again. We will add interviews with experts, examples of grief practices that others have found useful, as well as grief stories that illustrate what others have found useful.
If you would like to leave a comment, please visit our Contact Page.
Carolyn B. Healy is a therapist and writer. She created Waves of Grief to share what she has learned from working with grieving clients about what helps and what doesn’t. Carolyn began her own grief journey at age two when her father died in a plane crash. Since she grew up with her mother’s grief and her own as centerpieces in family life, her insights spring also from her own experience.
She hopes that the ideas and stories you find here will bring new perspective, and some comfort and encouragement - that life will again feel normal, though in a new way.
She is writing a book on grief to further explore the ideas presented here, the book that she has always wished she could put it in the hands of her grieving clients and friends.
“In my experience, grief moves in waves, not stages or steps. It threatens to knock you off your feet, and you fear you might drown. But then the wave recedes and you find your footing. As you learn what to expect, you become stronger to withstand the next wave and the next. Over time, they become less frequent and lose some of their power. They can still return long after, even with great intensity, but by then you know how to outlast them.
The great secret about grieving is that it brings you many treasures – loving encounters, wisdom, lasting memories, and perhaps a legacy to carry out for the rest of your life. Collecting these unwanted gifts helps you survive and eventually thrive.”