Some spiritual teachers claim that grief is triggered by thinking about the physical loss of our loved ones. The implication seems to be that our grief is our own fault because if we didn’t think about our physical loss and only our spiritual gain, we wouldn’t have grief. But this simply isn’t true. I don’t mean to say that this can’t trigger grief but that there are many triggers for grief that don’t involve cognitive thought. I believe that grief can involve muscle memory and I mean that very generally. This memory might not even be in a muscle, but in an organ, or some indefinable location in the body. These emotions can erupt without any conscious thought related to the loved one who has died. I find it offensive when ‘spiritual leaders’ imply that if we focused on our spiritual access to our deceased loved one, we wouldn’t experience grief!
It amazes me sometimes what kinds of things can trigger grief. I’ve had a lot of it coming up in the last few weeks. Was it the holidays? Maybe. Who even knows really? But it’s been there, like a dark cloud, hovering over me when I wake up in the morning before I’ve even entered into conscious thought. I may feel heavy, tired, or off somehow without any clear thoughts about my deceased son. I’ll get ready for work, thinking positively about the abundance in my life. On the way to work, I will say 15-20 things I’m grateful for, one being access to my son in the spirit world. Suddenly, there’s a fountain of tears pouring down my face. I wasn’t thinking about what I don’t have, but what I do have!
Tonight, I went to a discussion about spirituality. In the group was a young man who was near the age my son was before he died. The man had tattoos like my son, admitted to addiction like my son, and seemed similar in personality and a bit in appearance. Tears came to my eyes. I had the strangest sensation that I wanted to see if he knew my son, to hug him, to talk with him. I walked away at the end, avoiding that potentially uncomfortable talk. I had no way of knowing how he might react to my emotions. The pain was palpable, a tightness in my chest, a desperate need to cry, which I did on my way home.
Grief can be triggered by so many things or perhaps by nothing obvious. It is necessary to process grief when it comes up. It seems like it oozes out of our pores and when it does, it must be washed away in some fashion like dead skin which sluffs off when it’s ready. If we don’t process the grief, it will fester and likely turn into a medical illness.
I welcome your questions and comments.
#grief #grieftriggers #sadness #depression