EDITOR’S NOTE: How can a column called “Positive Vibes” have a story about grief? Because you can’t get to positive vibes with out journeying through all our emotions, and lately for most of all of us it’s been many doses of grief. Jan Boal shares her personal loss and how we need to allow the grieving process for each individual – embrace it. Most importantly reach out if you need help. There are links below to resources for local grief support groups.

By Jan Boal RN, CCN
Grief IS love. The more we loved the more we grieve. It is hard, very hard and it sure doesn’t feel like love, I know. But if we can look at it as love, just not as pain and sorrow, maybe we can let the grief in a bit more instead of running from it. Grieving is the healing process. Embrace it and surround it in love. We can not run from grief. It will manifest in other ways to get released that are not healthy for us or at the very least
not helpful to us. Isn’t the loved one we lost worth that? The respect of the grief knowing it is because we loved so much.

Yes, it HURTS! It hurts enormously, and this is one reason why we want to run or hide from it. Another reason is denial. We so do not want this to be true. At some time we need to go through that sorrow, the other emotions, and the stages of grief. We can’t escape this. Facing this and allowing yourself to feel these emotions will actually help move the process along faster. Practicing some sort of spirituality, I believe aides in this as well. This I know from experience. The devastating unexpected loss of my 34 year old son this past year. We will go through the stages of grief in our way, our own time.
There is no wrong way except to use an overindulgence in alcohol or drugs to escape.These will make it worse in SO many ways.

Stages of grief – you will go through these at different times and sometimes one or two at the same time. There is no correct way. Identifying which stage you are at helps and validates where you are at in healing. You may repeat a stage a few times but each time it will be different.
1. Denial 2. Anger 3. Bargaining 4. Depression 5. Acceptance
Death is as complicated as life. Except we can’t change the situation, only how we choose to deal with it. Words not spoken – regret – can eat at us, leaving us to feel guilty and/or angry. Feelings of “life isn’t fair,” or questioning our belief systems on so many things, especially our faith can occur. When grieving, we often question our whole life and our existence. We want to scream with agony at the wrongness of it all. Do it!! SCREAM! It will be a relief, if only temporary, just as with crying, it still helps. Different cultures and faith have different ways they grieve. It’s all okay, there is no one way, no one stop shopping for this. It is a process and time does help heal.

For me, I am doing quite well but I will always have a sad space in my heart for my son. I respect that. It does not mean I cut myself off from other relationships and only focus on what I have lost. It is a way of holding space for my grief that will never completely diminish. I am forever changed, as I am sure many of you might be as well. I allow myself to feel the grief when it arises and other times I find ways to celebrate my son.
My belief is that we are all energy. It is our essence, some call it the soul. We have many tendrils that extend out to our loved ones. When these are severed, our soulful bodies feel this. These tendrils which feed our heart and soul have been cut off. Much like experiencing the loss of a limb. There is phantom pain that comes with amputees.
There is soulful pain comes with the loss of a loved one. What helped me and I hope it can help you, is that I visualized all of these tendrils. To see each tendril an extension of an experience we had, a loving moment, and to surround each of these in love. It gave me a visualization and a tool to process my grief and to slowly, tendril by tendril to heal.
Find what works for you. Writing in a journal about how you are feeling can be very cathartic. Write a letter (or letters) to your loved one. Talk out loud to them. Creating something in their memory can be healing. Whether this be a garden spot in your yard or a community project. Big or small, it does not matter. Only how good it makes you feel.
Some of us are private in creating a memorial, others are not. Regardless, it is personal and you express it the way you choose. Grief support groups can also be very helpful or seeking professional help from a grief counselor. Go to the library, a bookstore or online to look for a book on loss that resonates with you.
I am wrapping my arms around you all now and know you are not alone. But I know it can sure feel like it. Don’t worry about calling a friend or family member to talk about this loss and the loved one. It is healthy to do this. They want you to do this! It isn’t a bother. Wouldn’t you say this to a friend and mean it!?
I hope you found this article helpful, it brings you some peace and to know you are strong and loved. Very loved. One step at a time turns into a day and so forth.
You have changed
You have grown
You understand for the first time what the Psalmist meant when he said:
“Yea, though I WALK THROUGH the valley of the shadow of death.”

Positive Vibes Holistic Care

Organization and Program Name Time, Date, Location County Location Direct Website Links or Phone Numbers
Adventist Health Tillamook – Grief Support – Manzanita Monthly 11:00am – 12:30m. Manzanita, Or – Calvary Bible Church North https://www.adventisthealth.org/events-calendar/event-details/?Event=5537
Adventist Health Tillamook – Grief Support – Tillamook Monthly 3:00pm – 4:30pm. Adventist Health Tillamook
3rd Floor Conference Room A. Tillamook, Or
Central https://www.adventisthealth.org/events-calendar/event-details/?Event=7369
Oregon Hospice Association contact for more information n/a Oregon Hospice Association