Grief Awareness Day

written by: Melissa Wolfe, LPC, Outpatient Therapist at Xylem House

August 30th is National Grief Awareness Day. On this day we take a moment to recognize grief as a process that comes with no rules. It has no timeline. And its closure will come to us in many forms.

Grieving is a very personal experience for each of us. We may describe the experience as a deep wound, as if affects us both physically and emotionally. Or perhaps we may visualize our grief as an endless ocean because we often experience it in waves, sometimes large and crashing, sometimes slow but steady as it washes over us. Sometimes it can be like a rollercoaster with ups and downs and abrupt shifts and turns we don’t expect. And sometimes it is a silence that can be at the same time both deafening and a comfort.

The truth is, many aren’t comfortable with talking about grief. Its not a pretty thing. When we are experiencing it, we often don’t know what to say to others and they often don’t know what to say to us. Because in reality, none of us understand. Even if my loss is similar to a loss you may have experienced, its different. Its mine.

Grief isn’t just one emotion. It’s a recipe of many. Often, we can feel guilt when there are days when we aren’t handling things very well. Maybe we weren’t ready to go back to work when we thought we would be.  Maybe the laundry is piling up, or the dishes. Maybe our voicemail box is full of unreturned calls. Or, maybe we are guilty because we had a good day. We laughed, or we realized that we were thinking and focused on other things and grief’s voice, for a time, was quiet.

We also fear. What if I find myself forgetting things about this person, or this thing I’ve lost? What if other people start to forget? How is my life going to change now? What if?

We are also sad, lonely, confused, angry, tired, sick. We are all kinds of things that we don’t want to be, and that the first impulse is to try to avoid, ignore, distract from, fix, or remedy in some way. But the reality is, sometimes the only way through it, is through it. Sometimes we just have to sit with our grief, feel it and experience it with all of its twists and turns, ups and downs, with the pain and sting, and the deafening yet comfortable silence. We don’t have to reach out, but we can. We don’t have to be ready, but if we are it’s ok that we are. It’s ok if it’s one day at a time, or if it’s one second at a time.

Whatever it is, it’s ok.




Helpful Resources for Grief – A guided meditation for coping with grief.


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