One of the elements of being able to successfully cope with grief most often involves experiencing a change in perspective. Please consider the following thoughts and pictures to help you on your journey.

 

When a beloved spouse, friend or family member is lost, one age-old question asked is "Why do bad things happen to good people? There isn't a good answer, for as Terri Guillemets says in the below captioned picture, "Life is not always fair. Sometimes you get a splinter even sliding down a rainbow."

 

Of course, you can take care of yourself (healthwise), but in the randomness of life, we never know when it will be our time to pass. Consequently, it is important to learn how to open up your heart again to enjoy all the "rainbows" of life whenever they are presented to you and also to let go of the fear that you may get a few more splinters along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

Garth Brooks said, "There are people who you hear are extraordinary, and then you meet them and find out they're ordinary. That's what makes them extraordinary.

 

You can apply this idea to life in general. Many complain about their seemingly boring lives, their spouse, their jobs, etc. However, when these things or people are suddenly stripped away, they begin to appreciate the beauty of the ordinary.

 

To the bereaved, boring and the ordinary, such as completing the simplest of tasks without the burden of deep grief, sounds extraordinary.

 

Keep this lesson close as you move through your grief. Never slip back into complacency. Cherish the extraordinariness of just being alive.

 

 

 

 

 

A common saying you've probably heard is that time heals all wounds. Although we know that is not true, for it is what you do with your time that will heal your wounds, the person who says this to you may be trying to convey the message that you need to be patient with yourself. 

 

I wonder if they understand what patience really means. I love the definition by Melody Beattie, which she shares in her book "The Language of Letting Go."

 

"Do not confuse the suggestion to be patient with the old rule about not having feelings.Being patient does NOT mean we go through the sometimes grueling process of life and recovery without having feelings! Feel the frustration. Feel the impatience. Get as angry as you need to about not having your needs met. Feel your fear ... Patience cannot be forced. it is a gift, one that closely follows acceptance and gratitude..."


 

 

 

As a Advisory Board member of Hope for Widows, a non-profit set up to provide peer support and tools for coping with grief for widows, I post thoughts such as the ones above on the organization's Facebook page. 

 

Ellen Gerst is a grief and relationship coach who uses both her personal experience as a young widow and her professional expertise to help clients and readers experience a change in perspective so that they may move successfully from the darkness of loss to the light of renewal. She is the author of several books on grief, which may be found on her website at http://www.LNGerst.com/Library.html. Join her on Facebook for tips on how to find love after loss.

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Comment by Mark Stegman on May 9, 2012 at 9:06am

Ellen,

You are a great source of comfort for people experiencing loss and grief.  You're very insightful and provide words of wisdom that many people benefit from.  Changing perspectives, making the most of the time we have and allowing yourself to have feelings while being patient are essential to recovery.  Open to Hope is an open resource for people to share their experiences and to help others.  "Some things never leave us.  Hope is one of them."

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