Grief’s Varied Emotions

This morning I went to the funeral Mass of a religious sister. In the afternoon I traveled an hour for the visitation of a brother to one of our SND sisters. There did not seem to be many expressions of grief at either place. Those emotions have probably already occurred and will occur again in the quiet that follows the funerals and luncheons. Then the friends and relatives will experience the many different feelings of grief: panic or helplessness, worry or anxiety, fear, anger, guilt, failure, loneliness, emptiness or hopelessness, sadness or despair. Grief may also feel like relief, happiness, gratitude; but don’t feel guilty about these emotions. Emotions aren’t good or bad, positive or negative. They just are. They come unexpectedly, often at an unusual time. Almost anything has the power to elicit grief. You’ve probably experienced this. A flavor of ice cream, a song, a smell of soap or bread, an advertisement, a photo, a receipt left in an old jacket, an envelope with an 8-cent stamp. Let these times of momentary grief, when the tears sting and the throat catches reconnect you with your loved one. Let them also help you to let go of your grief in some small way. Letting go of grief is not letting go of your loved one.

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