When I saw the above photo of the mountains and glaciers it made me think of both the beauty and barriers of the mourning process. How can there be beauty in grief? It’s not really beautiful at all. Tears, headaches, body pain, worry, fear, sadness and more all over again is often what the mourning process looks like.
So where is the beauty in grief?
I think the beauty of grief is when you are grieving it reveals how you deeply loved another being. C.S. Lewis talks about this in his book, A Grief Observed. It reveals what was once in your life; something amazing and something beautiful. The love you shared was beautiful and it remains so even after the death.
When we grieve the death of a loved one it gives meaning to their life and who they were to us.
The mourning process shows our deep connection with another person and when the connection is broken, we are pained, we mourn and we grieve.
I believe if our culture could view grief and the mourning process as a normal and beautiful part of life, we would have greater compassion towards one another.
We would be more graceful and patient with ourselves while we allowed ourselves to release and grieve. It would make life accept death and learn how to integrate death into our everyday lives.
Dr. Neimeyer, a leader in the field of Death, Dying and Bereavement, developed the grief theory of ‘integrating’ the life & death story of our deceased loved one into our life story. We all have stories. When a loved one dies, we must make sense of the death and it goes into our own life story. It becomes a part of us, a part of our new life story. This is beautiful as you think how integrated we are then with each other, effecting one another in such great ways.
If your friend or loved one died a violent death, then ‘integrating’ their death into our life story may feel like the looming, large glacier.
How can you possibly integrate a violent death into your memory, your heart, your life?
Usually, we try to Not integrate it but we work towards putting the images out of our life.
If you are grieving a violent death and the death feels like a huge mountain that feels impassable, here are a few ideas: