Sunday, March 6, 2011

Belated Grief

If you think about it, death is not just about the end of a physical life, but the end of any number of important happenings, relationships, careers, abilities and more.

While we were visiting with friends a discussion came up about adult children who (had lost a parent while they were just a child) were expected to "get over it" in a few months and basically not talk about the sadness or loss. These small children were to go on as though things were fine when they had lost a mom or dad. Not only did the death and lack of grieving frame their future, but it also never went away. Just talking about it would bring that person back to the moment.

It made me think about many friends and family members who have suffered something devastating and how they too were expected to just move on quickly. While it's not healthy to dwell on the past, and I'm not a mental health professional, I think there is something to be said for belated grieving.

It seems that when you watch shows like Celebrity Rehab or Biggest Loser or any number of programs that involve change, the concurrent theme is resolving the source of the pain. Whether it was the death of a parent, child, sibling spouse/partner, the loss of a marriage, job, home, the past revealing of a sexual preference or possible gender change, the suffering of abuse, oppression/persecution or bullying it would seem that it's never too late to seek help.

Though you may have moved on and even managed to enjoy success, it would seem that inner peace might warrant some counseling consideration.

Someone once told me that if you hold in your emotions too long the problem will surface again in strange ways. And I saw how this happened to someone I know well. She had kept an abuse from her family and later became an obsessive complusive hand washer. Again, I'm not a professional, but it seemed the obsessive complusive disorder developed as she held on to this secret and how dirty it made her feel. Over time the OCD became more managable as she revealed the pain of abuse. This sounds oversimplified, but we're talking years of healing.

So my prayer for you is that you find loving support or be that loving support for someone.

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