Just when we have planted lettuce and feel the end of winter has surely come, there is snow again! It won’t be deep, drifting snow, but the effect of flurries brings back the feeling of winter. Grief is like that. Just when we are thinking that we are getting better and progressing, some little thing like a loved one’s favorite food, or sport, or an anniversary date or a place we are visiting sting us once again with the pain of loss.
The final stage of grief work as discussed in “The Grief Recovery Handbook” is constructing “a significant emotional statement.” This is a sort of bottom line that, after the apologies and forgiveness steps, gives us words to define what may not ever have been communicated, even to ourselves, before the loss. “I loved you; I hated you; I was very proud of you; I was very ashamed of you; Thank you for the sacrifices you made for me; I appreciated the time you spent with me.” In short, we give ourselves permission to say what we wanted the loved one to know but for whatever reason may not have been able to say.
Other losses can also be addressed by a significant emotional statement We may address our own bodies if the loss is health related and the grief is letting go of dreams that we may no longer be able to achieve in a physical way. Letting go of a career, financial security, or a place can also be addressed with a significant emotional statement.
Recovery from grief is not shaken by “snow showers”. We know that recovery, like spring, is at hand and that letting go is not a single day but a pattern of days that look forward more frequently than looking back.