This year, we’ve all lost things – from large celebrations to missed vacations. But some of us have lost more. The pandemic is claiming lives across the country, and if you haven’t been impacted you may know someone who has. We are grieving for many reasons. But knowing how to move through the worst of it is an important tool in life.
Kelley Brenninger’s story of moving through grief has lessons for us all. Four years ago, she lost her husband of 20 years in a skiing accident and found herself on a JOURNEY without a blueprint.
Her two children, then 12 and 15, anchored her to this earth. She knew she couldn’t go AROUND her grief. Her FOCUS on her family kept her moving forward THROUGH it.
In the process, she learned 4 KEY tips:
- GRIEVE YOUR OWN WAY
In the days after losing her husband, Kelley cried a lot. She explained to her kids that for her, crying was the way to RELEASE her grief. She knew her tears would move her closer to HEALING. But her children grieved in different ways. Her daughter turned to writing and art. Her son worked with a counselor who took him golfing and taught him to play the guitar.
Grieving alongside her children, Kelley learned thy each had their own UNIQUE way to process their pain and emotions. She realized:
There’s no right or wrong way to RELEASE your GRIEF.
LET GO of the stages they say you should be following and GRIEVE YOUR OWN WAY.
- FIND JOY
You may be tempted to numb your grief. This can be done with alcohol, pills, or avoidance through activity. But this will only prolong the inevitable.
To truly HEAL, you need to go through the MIDDLE of the pain to get to the other side. You need to FEEL it to get through it.
However, this doesn’t mean you have to STAY in the pain. Take a break and FIND JOY again. This will happen little by little when you take a breather from the grief.
As time passed, Kelley and her children found comfort in laughter. Not long before her husband passed, their family spent a year in France and traveled around Europe. Telling stories of their trip led to more stories from the past. It was a positive way of bringing him back into their world and brought them moments of JOY.
- GET MOVING
In her darkest moments, Kelley’s counselor recommended she GET MOVING. They began taking walks together in the fresh mountain air outside her home. Kelley found this time with nature incredibly healing.
Take steps to get out of the state you’re in – the closed curtains, the same couch, and the tears. Make the choice to put your body in motion.
When you change your ENVIRONMENT you begin to change the state you’re in.
- PRACTICE AUTHENTIC GRATITUDE
Grieving can be like a see saw. You work to be thankful for what you do have, but you quickly find yourself considering what should have been without your loss. This pattern is perfectly normal. But there IS a way out of it.
An ATTITUDE of GRATITUDE is stronger than pessimism and dissatisfaction. But it has to be AUTHENTIC. Choose to be SPECIFIC in gratitude for the things that TRULY bring you joy. This can change from day to day, and as you practice will lead you through grief and towards healing.
There is no set way to deal with grief, but even in the darkest moments AUTHENTIC GRATITUDE can make all the difference.
Loss can affect your life in profound ways. But moving through the grief is essential – and helps you heal in remarkable ways.