How to Handle Grief

The experience of loss can embitter a person forever. One can become curdled and resentful against God and the universe and spend the rest of his days in defiant rage. Or it can harden and isolate him. I have known people who have experienced the pain of loss who say: “Never again. I will not make myself vulnerable to this kind of agony.” Then, closing themselves off from everyone and everything, they become shriveled and lifeless.

But if we are willing, the experience of grief can deepen and widen our ability to participate in life. We can become more grateful for the gifts we have been given, more open-handed in our handling of the events of life, more sensitive to the whole mysterious process of life, and more trusting in our adventure with God and the universe.

Together, we have traced out its course – the numbness of shock, the feeling of utter despair that denies the future, the excursion into nostalgia with the temptation to live there, the feelings of anger and resentment when one tries to understand what has happened. Every griever has had to walk this way. But let us not stop there.

If yesterday was so full of meaning, why not tomorrow? All the days come from the same Source! This is how you move through and become deeper and richer human beings. No one ever said this is easy to do, but it is possible.