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We don’t grieve to “get better.” We grieve to feel differently.


Day 81: We don’t grieve to “get better.” We grieve to feel differently.


What does “getting better” even mean in grief?

What does “healing” mean in grief?

What does “recovery” mean in grief?

What does “progress” mean in grief?


All of these words are so imperfect when it comes to grief and usually make me bristle because they are rampant in our progress driven society.


I believe that the only “healing, recovery, or progress” in grief is a matter of feeling differently, one day. Feeling differently means that our grief is evolving and changing and moving.


Feeling differently in grief might mean a deeper pain of missing. Feeling differently might mean accessing good memories that spark even more pain of yearning. Feeling differently might mean knowing that your grief will always be there, in some form or another. Feeling differently might mean wanting to protect your grief, because you see it as a form of love and connection.


These forms of feeling differently can be hard to swallow—because how could “progress” mean accessing deep emotions and feeling pretty terrible?


The pain of grief is not what will kill us or make us sick. The suffering of grief (the turning away from it, a constant compartmentalization of it, and anything that blocks it from evolving), is actually what will hurt us in the long term.


In my work, “progression” might look to the outside world (and even to my clients) as “getting worse.” We as a society have mislabeled “worse.” Sometimes experiencing these intense emotions is the actual goal, the actual mechanism for healing, and the actual sign of progress.


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