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AcceptanceGrief and LossTransformation

Creating Room for Grief

By January 26, 20124 Comments

The grieving process is natural. Similar to the cycles of the seasons or the ebb and flood of the tides…it is not linear and straightforward, but it comes and goes. At times, we may feel good about life…inspired, energized and in our passion. At others, we may feel sad, fatigued and depressed. Each of these seasons requires something different from us.

          For example, if we are grieving, we may need to draw our energy inward and spend more time resting and focusing on self care. We may have less energy to give and create. Like the winter season, this is a good time to restore our energy for when the spring arrives, allowing the seeds of new life to germinate in the dark soil.

          A couple of weeks before Christmas I found myself feeling blue, heavy-hearted and moody. I was surprised to tune into my body and find hidden grief, sitting under the surface, waiting to be acknowledged. The previous month, I had felt energized and inspired about my business and life, so when grief surfaced, I was resistant at first. There is too much to do to prepare for Christmas. I don’t have time to be sad. Plus, who wants to be sad when there are celebrations to attend? I wanted to ignore and dismiss my grief but ultimately the heaviness in my heart persisted, causing me to feel tired and fatigued.

          Creating room for my grief, I did a stream of consciousness writing exercise starting with, “What I am most sad about is…” This helped my grief to surface and flow in the form of tears. What I discovered was that I was most sad about not having my own family. All of the Christmas cards and pictures of families and kids triggered my on-going grief about not having my own children. It was the “season” for my grief to surface, to be honored and acknowledged. As it flowed, I began to feel lighter and less burdened. With my energy restored, I was able to be fully present with friends and family at the celebrations I attended.

          The week after Christmas, my dog, Rennie, my “baby”, injured herself and my grief surfaced again. She is an elderly dog and had already torn the ACL in her left knee a couple of years ago. Now, with a torn ACL in her right knee and severe hip dysplagia, she is barely able to walk. Ironically, the same thing happened last year…I was feeling sad about not having a family shortly before Christmas and Rennie injured her self and was unable to walk. This year was different though. Along with intense feelings of grief, I was able to also experience deep joy. My emotions were more fluid.

          Coming out of this season of grief my passion and energy for life has been renewed once again. As I let go of my resistance to the process and create room for what IS, I feel more at peace with my life. Grief has become a companion along my journey, like a friend, creating a deeper well of love and compassion within me and as a result, deeper connections with others. I am grateful for ALL that IS – even my grief.

 Suggested Journaling Exercise:

 What is your relationship with grief? Is it like a close friend you create room for and spend time with? Do you acknowledge the gifts that it offers? Or, do you deny it and shove it aside? If you are someone who tends to ignore or resist your grief, set aside time and use the following writing prompt, “What I feel most sad about is…” Repeat this exercise when you feel tired, depressed, sad or irritable. Allowing your grief to surface and flow will lighten your mood and give you more energy for your life.


  • Healn J says:

    I think journaling is a great way to help cope with the grief we find in life. I lost my best friend in a boating accident last summer and not a day goes by when I don’t think about her. I have had trouble to cope with the fact I will never see her again, so I have turned to family for help as well as sites like to get me through this troubling time. Thanks so much for your journaling suggestions, I know I will give them a try too!

  • Karen says:

    Helan – I am so sorry to hear about your loss. Thank you for sharing with me what has helped you to cope. I hope the journaling exercise helps as well. All the best! Karen

  • Autumn says:

    “What am I most sad about” seems like such an easy question, but it is not. Thank you for a great writing prompt to help connect with the sadness of loss. My loss happened a long,long time ago, but I never dealt with it. This will help even if I have to sit with an empty page for however long it takes. Thank you.

  • Karen says:

    Autumn – I am sorry about your loss. I hope the writing exercise helped. I offer other helpful suggestions in my free report on healing grief. You can get it at my website: if you join my mailing list. All the best on your journey!

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Karen Mehringer, MA, MFT - Grief support, counseling and life coaching in Santa Cruz area.