Grief, Growth, and Grit

Let me start by saying grief is hard. It can throw us into chaos, and drop us into the pit of darkness, and unhinge our lives.

Rather than focusing solely on grief symptoms, I have chosen to focus on what I see as the overall process of grief and the road it takes us on over time.

I won’t use the words healing or recovery, for I respect the ongoing significance of grief and the role it plays throughout our lives.

We don’t necessarily “get over” a loss, or “move on” from a loss. We learn to live with and integrate it into our lives. Over time, the intensity of the emotions decreases, but the hole it leaves is forever.

I am not a researcher, but I am an observer of people. What I have observed in my personal and professional life is there are phases we go through with grief. They aren’t linear because grief isn’t neat and orderly. I refer to these phases as grief, growth, and grit.

Grief affects us physically, emotionally, mentally, socially, spiritually, and impacts our behavior. You have the right as a griever to experience your own unique grief, to talk about your grief, to feel all your emotions, and to be tolerant of your physical and emotional limits. You will be compromised.

Coping with the ups and downs of grief is part of the growth process. The death of someone is influenced by the role the person played in your life, the type of relationship you had with the deceased, how much a part of your daily routine the person was, and the importance you placed on the person.

Words like perseverance, hardiness, resilience, tenacity, and commitment come to mind when we think about grit. We develop grit as we learn to tolerate our emotions, continue or develop healthy habits like exercise, support from others, structure our days, and knowing what we can and cannot participate in.

Ellen Bass in her poem “The Thing Is” says: 
“The thing is to love life, to love it even
when you have no stomach for it…”


There may not be a happy ending, but there will be new beginnings.

Today’s Practice

Remember that you aren’t moving on after a loss, you are moving forward as you integrate that loss in your life.


3 thoughts on “Grief, Growth, and Grit”

  1. Gail – thank you so much for this post. November is a challenging month for me because it’s the anniversary of a bunch of family deaths, and I really needed to hear this.

    1. Thank you Melissa. I am sorry for the loss of so many of your family members. Anniversaries heighten the intensity and sadness and it is also the holiday time when we miss those we love around our tables. The world is so different without them. I am glad the article was useful. It is easy to get lost in the dark.
      Warmest regards – Gail

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