What happens when we don’t grieve? Have you ever experienced a loss and thought your response was out of proportion to the actual loss? It just might have been because old griefs come to the fore when new losses occur. Certainly those griefs we haven’t tended to adequately will come roaring onto our screens wanting attention. It helps clear the channels when we can acknowledge and process losses as they occur.
Grief and loss are a natural part of life. Grief affects us emotionally, spiritually and physically. Old losses surface as we’re ready to grieve. Unresolved grief waits in the wings for the next loss so it can reappear and ask for our attention–and often comes out sideways or in sneaky ways that take us, and those we love, by surprise.
And it can also affect physical health and relationships. I know that when I haven’t tended to my grief over a loss, it shows up as stress particularly in my neck and back. It also can close down my heart so that I’m not as open and loving in my relationships. Grief needs to be acknowledged—and addressed.
This message is excerpted from “Faces of Grief” a program resource written by Sonia Solomonson, published by Women of the ELCA in 2010, and available at womenoftheelca.org.