9 Priceless Gems Found In The Grieving Process

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9 Benefits Of The Grieving Process

The grieving process is an enigma. For some, it seems to pass quickly after the initial shock wears off. For others, it can take forever, or so it seems.

The journey depends on how you choose to progress through the phases — and these are tough choices.

The loss of a loved one leaves a crater in your heart that's impossible to fill, and it takes time for the edges of the hollow to soften, so you can begin to create a new normal. In order to do this, you need to learn how to deal with grief.

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There's no "getting over it," as though there is some closure at the end. Most people just get through it.

And if you're paying attention along the way, you may discover the gems sprinkled on your path.

Lara Honos-Webb, Ph.D., describes the benefits of the grieving process succinctly.

She says, “Grieving is like polishing rare stones. The process of going over and over the memories creates a rare and beautiful jewel, the true beauty of which had not been previously realized. There are lessons here for the life you are living now.”

Case in point: As I met every person who attended my brother’s wake, I got to hear stories that made me smile.

I had no idea how loved my brother was by others. Listening to their tales of mischief and tomfoolery, I gained a new appreciation for him. I saw him through the eyes of his friends — it was a gem of a gift to me.

The memories from this sad day are the ones I polish in my mind.

As you move through your grieving process, you may notice gems of your own. Perhaps this list will help you to think about your grief differently.

You can find true gems in the grieving process.

Consider how each might play a role in helping you get through your grieving process. These ideas will lift you and lighten your load if you let them.

Once you pick a memory to try, adapt it to your circumstance so you can test how it works for you. Then, act on it and see how you feel. If it works, try another one — if it doesn’t, try another one.

Here are 9 ways to find and polish the gems of your loved one's memory in grieving their death. 

1. Learn something new about your loved one.

This way, you can appreciate them in a novel way.

2. Reach out to other people who share your loss.

Talking about it can ease the pain and shift the burden from your shoulders alone.

3. Honor others' differences in grieving.

As you share with others, objectively notice how people grieve differently and for different lengths of time.

Grow an appreciation for the difference, without any judgment for what is right or wrong.

4. Find your way to acceptance.

There are many things in life beyond your control. Letting go of the notion that you have to take charge will diminish the drain on your energy.

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5. Put your faith in the adage, "What doesn’t kill you will make you stronger."

The truth is, the more adversity you face, the more resilient you become.

6. Stop sweating the small stuff.

Don't make mountains out of molehills. There are plenty of big decisions to occupy your thoughts. Focus on those.

7. Look back and cherish the memories.

Rather than wallow in what you’ve lost, shift your thoughts to what you gained.

8. Wisdom is your friend.

What lessons have you learned? Use them.

9. When you are mired in your grieving process, focus on gratitude instead.

Replace the feelings of loss, despair, panic, or anxiety with gratefulness.

Your brain can’t feel both things at once. Choose gratitude.

You can move through your grief.

Some of these gems may fit like a glove, while others seem far-fetched. Still, others may feel impossible in your current state of mind.

When you're ready, you’ll know that it’s time to answer tough questions such as, "Who am I now that things have changed?" And, "What comes next for me?"

You will discover that you are seeking a new balance in your life. Think of it as finding harmony again.

Stay in the present moment, so you don’t miss any new memories, but look back just long enough to see how far you’ve come.

Feel how you’ve grown. Then, decide when you’re ready to move forward. It helps to embrace the change that has taken place and welcome the transition to a new chapter.

These steps are gradual and depend on how you face loss and grief. Some may work for you better than others. Many may require you to reach out for help to figure out how best to adapt and apply them in your life. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need.

I’ll leave you with this thought from Haruki Murakami:

“And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm is all about.”

RELATED: How To Find Your Purpose In Life After Experiencing A Deep Loss

María Tomás-Keegan is a certified career & life coach and founder of Transition & Thrive with María. For more information on how she can help you, get a free copy of her ebook From Darkness to Light: Learning to Adapt to Change and Move Through Transition.

This article was originally published at Transition and Thrive With Maria. Reprinted with permission from the author.