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Exploring Grief

Updated: Aug 26, 2022

Exploring Grief

Becoming an explorer of our grief instead of a person seeking to end it or fix it takes patience and grace. We must be willing to become familiar with our pain, face it and feel it.

An explorer investigates. She goes into new territory to gain information. She asks questions. She observes the landscape. The explorer is curious. She explores the unfamiliar area. A seeker is looking for a specific answer. She is attempting to find something. She looks for clues to lead her to an end point. A seeker has an end point in sight and knows when she has arrived.

When an explorer experiences her grief, she takes time to feel her emotions. She pays attention to how her body reacts. She is curious as to how her grief will affect different scenarios. She acknowledges her struggles without judgement. An explorer realizes grief is a process and willingly moves through her grief journey moment by moment without time constraints.

A seeker, on the other hand, has a destination in sight, to end the grief. She sets goals for herself and has a time frame in which she works. A seeker looks for stages for her grief and may judge herself harshly when she feels stuck or moves “backward” in her progress. A seeker will often ignore areas of her grief because she doesn’t want to deal with it. A seeker will get frustrated when she isn’t “over it yet”. She looks to others as a gauge for her own progress.

Being a seeker with an end point in mind becomes frustrating because she is working against the natural flow of grief. She is striving to rid her life of the grief she is experiencing. A seeker has “getting over it” has her goal and often feels there is a timeframe in which it should happen.

An explorer sits with her grief and wonders how she can fit her life into the environment of grief, where a seeker tries to remove grief from her environment. Consider Tracy, she notices that her grief is strong first thing in the morning. She dreads waking up because her husband’s absence is the first thing on her mind. As Tracy is making her coffee one morning, she makes a whole pot, just like she used to when her husband was alive. That’s it!!! She misses him and their routine of making coffee, sitting on the couch or front porch and discussing their prospective day as the morning sun peaked through the trees. A seeker would do everything in her power to remove the feeling of grief. She might totally change up her routine in order to alleviate the memories and the pain. An explorer would ponder this discovery. She might continue the routine that she shared with her husband. She would acknowledge the pain that she felt and accept the physical manifestations that came with it. She would notice that some days were rawer than others, some days were filled with sweet memories and some days were used planning her own daily schedule.

Although becoming an explorer of grief takes time, effort and fortitude, an explorer will grow through the journey. An explorer will take what comes and live through it and with it. She will not try to get rid of her grief but will experience it. Instead of living a life surrounded by grief, she will live her grief surrounded by life.


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