The key to resolving grief

The key to resolving grief is the feeling of acceptance that comes through validation. To resolve means to settle, to work out, or to find meaning. It does not mean to erase, or to end. Grief does not end, but grief is transformed. Grief can soften. It can be accepted. It can take on another shape, rather than taking over a person’s life. One can carry grief differently after working through grief and finding resolution. But grief does not end.

The great healer of our grief is validation, not time. All grief needs to be blessed. In order to be blessed, it must be heard. Someone must be present, someone who is willing to “hold” it by listening without judgment or comparison.

Those who grieve need both verbal and non-verbal permission to feel whatever feelings arise during grief. Their personal way of experiencing their loss should be given consent and validation. The ways they “know” their grief should be honored. Mourners need to be encouraged to express their grief in ways that are most comfortable for them, through words, tears, song, art, movement, or activity.

While grieving, those in pain need a sense of a compassionate presence. That is a person who provides a healthy relationship and companions them. It is the person who can “just be” with them in whatever way is helpful throughout the journey. There may be several people who support with their ability to be present, and each may offer different aspects that are needed. The bereaved need:

  1. To be cared for with your presence, permission, patience, predictability, and perseverance.
  2. To have their feelings acknowledged and their loved one remembered.
  3. To have their feelings and needs normalized.
  4. To be heard.
  5. To be seen and acknowledged.

12 thoughts on “The key to resolving grief

  1. Louise

    I just breathed a huge sigh of relief when reading this post. It articulates exactly what I need but couldn’t put into words so clearly. Thank you so much.

    1. Lani Leary

      Thank you, Louise. I sigh and am relieved at your perspective, as well, that “life is now”, and would add that “healing is in the now”. The greatest acts of kindness and healing shown me by others as been their acknowledgement, or a simple “Yes’ to my experience. Validation transcends understanding.

    1. Lani Leary

      You can validate your feelings by blogging…journaling…painting…dancing…running…singing; these are all ways of “moving” your grief from the inside out so that you can express and share. In the process, others come to know and hopefully move closer to your experience, so that they can join you in validating and walking with you.

  2. cynz

    What if your grief is just relief? The weight of the world seemed to lift off my shoulders. Too long a story. Finally, at 60, I am happy and content.
    Love u Dr. Lani

    1. Lani Leary

      Cyn: Grief can be a relief. I have seen it often, and I understand the feeling of being able to let go of a burden. The weight of the world was perhaps a troubling relationship that would not heal, abuse, or unremitting pain. But as with all grief, I hope that you honor it, listen to it, and respond to it through compassionate and non-judgmental self care. I am happy for your release.

  3. Pingback: A Few More Things I’ve Learned in the Ten Years Since Jason Died | Grief: One Woman's Perspective

  4. Pingback: The Key to Resolving Grief « Mom Managing Life

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