The Healing Process of Grief

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surrender

2013 was a huge year of transition for me.

And, to be frank, it was a year of loss.

But also a year of growth.  

A year of survival and a year of strength.

 

I’ve learned a lot first hand about loss, grief and healing… and I can contrast it quite vividly to what I *learned* about grief and healing during my medical training.

 

I still remember being in medical school and learning all about the classic model of the grief process, set forth by the amazing and brave Elisabeth Kubler-Ross:

DABDA

(I’m sure many of my readers, who are also healers and light workers, are familiar with this acronym:)

meaning:

D — denial
A — anger
B — bargaining
D — depression
A — acceptance

 

We learned in med school how patients go through this grieving process in any order, and may take as long as necessary in each phase before coming through to acceptance of the loss.

 

What I found, going through my 2013 transition, is that this model did not serve me very well.

 

Yes, I could describe *some* of what I’ve gone through in DABDA terms.

I did feel a sense of “denial” which to me was more of a surreal feeling of not quite being able to wrap my mind around what was seeming to happen without my input or my permission.

I felt a glimmer of the other phases at different times as well, but I never quite felt that DABDA captured the true essence of what was going on nor do I feel the final term of “acceptance” really capture the true beauty in the healing process that has since unfolded.
There are so many gifts along the way.

There are so many moments of breathtaking beauty, of love, of rawness, of support, of gratitude, all swirled into the moments of hurt, of ugly, of anxiety, of fear.

I began to identify a new way to think about the grieving process, one that served me better, one that felt more accurate to my experience and the experiences of the patients I’ve worked with.

 

angel at high tide

 

The new paradigm, for me, looks more like this:

Resistance —> Surrender

 

Not moving randomly through the 5 phases of DABDA, but moving systematically from resistance to surrender.

 

The sense of denial I felt in the beginning was pure resistance.

It was: “This can not (or should not) be happening.”

And then I’d have a moment of:  “Yes, I can do this, I will do this, this *is* happening” and what I noticed is that each time I surrendered to what was happening, hope would immediately return.

Then a backwards step into resistance, but then three more towards surrendering to the flow of what was unfolding.

 

  • And what has happened over the past 6 months is that every single time I’ve taken a step backwards in the healing process, it is because I was resisting it.

  • And every single time I’ve taken a huge leap in the healing process, it is because I was surrendering to the transformation and ALLOWING IT TO BE something more beautiful than had ever stood in it’s place before.

 

The ugliest messes have a way of being the most necessary, meaningful, healing experiences possible.

And even when our gut is screaming “no, no, no, no, NO!”… the entire time, our soul is singing “yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!” and surrender happens.

And healing happens.

And growth happens.

stretching to release tension

And I am standing here 6 months later, and my ability to heal has been directly proportional to my ability to surrender.

I’m learning this as I go and wanted to share it here with you, in case this helps someone else that you know and love.

Send this article to them so that they can play with the process of healing and perhaps look at it as the process of resistance to surrender as well — maybe to them (as it did to me) it will feel more empowering.

 

Healing doesn’t happen in predictable phases… DABDA never really described how it truly *felt* to go through this transformation.

But resistance to surrender… yep, that about sums it up nicely.

 

Surrendering and watching what shows up feels ever so infinitely better than resisting what life has planned for me.  Surrender has shown me beauty, grace, love, unconditional support, strength, survival… and more of *myself* than ever before.

 

 

Turns out, stepping fully into the process of trusting what is unfolding is what real, deep, soul healing has been about all along.

grounding

Nothing else has quite compared to this messy experience of being cracked fully open until there was no option left but to surrender to it fully… and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.

 

 

 

So if you are in resistance, if you are in a situation you feel you didn’t choose, don’t want, can’t survive…

Let go and surrender.

Jump on in… the water’s fine.

Floating right along side you…

 

xoxox, Laura

 

Letting Go, by Suzanne Lucas

Giving up is merely quitting
Letting go is sweet release

Giving up is cries of anguish
Letting go is perfect peace

Giving up is hard and heavy
Letting go is loose and light

Giving up is simply failure
Letting go, success in sight

Giving up is very human
Letting go is most divine

Giving up is death at sundown

Letting go, the rising sun

Giving up is “There, it’s over”

Letting go, “I’ve just begun!”