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No One Can Tell You How To Grieve

Healing is on your timeline, not theirs.

Photo by zautara on Reshot

What’s the deepest grief you’ve ever known? If you’re anything like me — and even if it’s long passed — you can still picture, taste, and smell that grief. The way it hangs itself around your throat and pushes hard against your chest.

That alternating dull and sharp heartache.

My grief tastes like iron and cotton balls.

It makes my mouth feel dry.

My grief is heavy and brittle and it smells like stale earth.

In fact, I can still remember how the weight of my deepest grief was heavier than any other burden I’d ever known. How I couldn’t put it down for the longest time.

And how it made practically everyone around me uncomfortable.

I feel everything quite deeply… more than most, I suppose.

So it’s only natural that it takes me a long time to work through my pain. The frustration felt by those around me was perhaps inevitable. People wanted me to move on far more quickly than I could.

I think they called it tough love.

And growing up.

But I think those people forgot that the negative feelings like grief, sadness, and pain are all natural and even healthy parts of life. We take joy in the good because we have also tasted the bad.

And yes, I know. It’s hard to watch others stay in their pain. We want it to stop. We want them to stop. That’s at least how I give people the benefit of a doubt when they try to tell me or anyone else how to grieve — or how not to grieve.

See, I’m a big believer in allowing yourself to feel your feelings to get through them in a healthy way. Not to never have a negative feeling. So I’m a lot less concerned about the person who grieves “too long” than the person who cannot grieve at all.

And that’s why I say, don’t let people define your grief. Don’t let them tell you what grief looks like. You heal on your own damn timeline.

Grief doesn’t give you a free pass to be a jerk to anyone or check out of your responsibilities to the helpless like children or pets, if you have those. It’s not an excuse to make toxic choices.

But it is a fitting time to slow down and give yourself some grace. Your grief is real and must be felt fully. You’ve got to give yourself time to actually get through it. Without guilt. Without shame.

In the end what we’re really talking about is the fact that no one can dictate your feelings. Not what to feel or how long it’s alright to feel it. You’ll feel it for the rest of your life if need be.

Your grief is your story and you’ll get through it a hell of a lot faster without other people weighing in on your progress.

Going through the process in your own time, and own way is a positive thing.