“We were even told, ‘Blessed are those that mourn,’ and I accepted it. Of course it is different when the thing happens to oneself, not to others, and in reality, not in imagination…”
-C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed (1961)
Grief takes form in a deep sorrow that can slip us into unplanned reflection and unintended isolation. It is normal to feel that no one else understands. Grief may take the form of a certain anger, and it may also hold in it a kind of fear.
The intentions of those offering care and the many resources that may surround a person who is grieving often have a quality of flatness. When we grieve, we may experience anxiety, embarrassment, even laziness. Mourning a loss is a frigid season.
The process of grieving is a journey. It is impossible to rush and unpredictable at every turn. It is a kind of suffering that must be lived day by day.
In Letters to a Young Poet, Rainer Maria Rilke (1934) wrote of sadness that these “are the moments when something new has entered into us, something unknown: our feelings grow mute in shy perplexity, everything in us withdraws, a stillness comes, and the new, which no one knows, stands in the midst of it and is silent (p. 17).”
During our grief, we gain in the acknowledgment of the perplexity and by encouragement in the stillness. Therapy offers healing opportunities to mourn and grieve actively. It is a facilitated process of emotion coaching and, in some cases, spiritual direction.