Grief is a tidal wave that over takes you, smashes down upon you with unimaginable force, sweeps you up into its darkness, where you tumble and crash against unidentifiable surfaces, only to be thrown out on an unknown beach, bruised, reshaped... Grief will make a new person out of you, if it doesn't kill you in the making.
- Stephanie Ericsson
Each of person travels on his or her own unique journey in experiencing of the loss. Each person's experience of loss will have subtle nuances that will make it unlike any other loss, but the commonality--the grief response--with the intense feelings of loss, anger, depression, loneliness, fear, frustration, desperation, these are emotions that others will have also felt, endured and survived. What we have in common is that the grief response is felt most intensely by the heart. There is a common "language" those who have experienced grief speak, one that can often be understood without words. Many times all that is required to let someone know you have been there; that you understand their grief is just an understanding look, a gentle touch on the arm, a reassuring hug or a heart-felt note.
It is in the sharing of the losses of many hearts that our own heart begins to heal. We are not alone in our losses or our feelings of grief, that someone else will have experienced similar losses (or worse) and survived. As the grieving person recognizes that others have lived through loss and survived he or she will begin to realize that he/she can survive their own loss.
Sharing the losses, telling the grief story or expressing the feeling in writing or other creative endeavors, no matter how painful, is important in the healing process. Healing will be recognized when the grieving person is at a point of being able to share with those earlier in the process. With this knowledge the heart grows stronger, more sensitive and more understanding of the suffering of others. The quotation by Dr. Robert Schuller sums this up:
"Our grief always brings a gift. It's the gift of greater sensitivity and compassion for others. We learn to rise above our own grief by reaching out and lessening the grief of others."
- Journey of Heart Website