The Problem of Grief

No one knows how you feel. Your heart is broken. It’s true that people have had similar circumstances. You’re father died and so did mine. You experienced an untimely divorce and so did I. We identify with you on the basis of our common experiences, but in the end, you stand alone in your grief. You are unique; your grief is unique because no one shared that relationship quite like you. The true gift of your grief lies in taking responsibility for your unique experience. No one can suffer your grief for you. No one can heal for you; it is your unique calling and duty. I love this beautiful idea communicated in Viktor E. Frankl’s,

There is a beautiful gift that follows from this truth. The true gift of your grief lies in taking responsibility for your unique experience. No one can suffer your grief for you. No one can heal for you; it is your unique calling and duty. This truth comes from one of the most profoundly impactful books written the last century, Viktor E. Frankl’s, Man’s Search For Meaning: When a man finds that his destiny is to suffer (or grieve), he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single and unique task. He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden… (and speaking about his experience in the concentration camps) Once the meaning of suffering had been revealed to us…there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer (grieve).

“When a man finds that his destiny is to suffer (or grieve), he will have to accept his suffering as his task; his single and unique task. He will have to acknowledge the fact that even in suffering he is unique and alone in the universe. No one can relieve him of his suffering or suffer in his place. His unique opportunity lies in the way in which he bears his burden… (and speaking about his experience in the concentration camps) Once the meaning of suffering had been revealed to us…there was no need to be ashamed of tears, for tears bore witness that a man had the greatest of courage, the courage to suffer (grieve).”

The problem of grief lies in a broken heart and healing must begin where the wound is found. Most of the advice/comments that grievers hear from friends and family are intellectual in nature and fail to touch the “heart of the matter” which leads grievers into emotional isolation. We’re conditioned to solve problems with our intellect so when issues of broken hearts emerge we try to think our way out of them and though we might appear to have moved on we carry our woundedness forward in silent desperation. There is a different path – a path of recovery.

Over the next few weeks, my blog will be covering grief recovery. I will take the majority of my information directly from the chapters from The Grief Recovery Handbook. I hope you find it as valuable as I have. Definitely reach out if you have any questions or comments!