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FaithHealthLifestyle

A Letter to My Grief

Grief is something every human being will experience.

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Grief is something every human being will experience.

“All that you think is rain is not. Behind the veil angels sometimes weep.” – Rumi

Grief is something every human being will experience.

Whilst the death of a loved one is the most difficult type of grief to process and accept, we can also grieve for many different losses throughout our lives big or small. Grief for our ever-changing relationships between family and friends, for the marital and homelife that never turned out the way we desired, for our lost youth, for the wealth and success that never came our way, for the injustices of the world, for the environment, our list of grievances can be endless. 

Sometimes the loss can be painful to the point that it makes it difficult to move on and let go of the anguish, wounding us for years to come. Finding meaning in loss can empower us to make change and let go of the anger, resentment, or depression associated with grief. 

A renowned psychologist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross devised the five stages of grief which refers to the various phases we will likely experience. However, in recent years a grief expert in his book Finding Meaning; The Sixth Stages of Grief has added another stage which is the phase we can experience in order to transform our pain into something of value.  

When we look at the example of the Prophet (peace be upon him) he experienced many losses and led by example by grieving in a manner that showed others how to grieve.

For example, over time he used his struggles to empower him and evolve his spirit. Because of the way he related to grief, he allowed others to have both a human and spiritual experience with their sorrows meaning, he encouraged expressing feelings of grief without downplaying the bigger wisdom behind the loss. He did not become hard-hearted but instead, his difficulties opened him up to being more loving and compassionate.

When you are grieving it does not mean you are broken or need fixing but instead, grief is to be witnessed and validated either by yourself and/or by others – accepting it and using it as a source of kindness rather than bitterness.

After losing my father very suddenly several years ago and after various other losses, consciously I felt I was dealing with grief but subconsciously I found it difficult to process what I was going through. As I continue to move through this, I have realised that being angry and defensive and feeling guilt over things I could not change has not served me so, instead, I have decided to recognise my grief.  

This short poem is a reminder of the importance of acknowledging and processing grief so we can grow around the traumas we experience – to find some meaning because of them even if that means being grateful for the time we had with loved ones or finding a way to be grateful for the experience.

This can also allow us to connect with Allah (swt) as He loves the grateful. The more we can tend to our wounds and heal them the more empathy we can have for each other as a community and be able to connect and become more compassionate with one another. Having the patience and courage to work through the challenges we face. 

Following the Prophetic example, our hearts can become softer and more expansive.  This is a letter to my grief.  

Dear Grief,

I have resisted you for a long time.  

As time has passed I have felt your presence more and more like a thunderstorm waiting to erupt.

You are like a dark cloud that hangs around even when the sun is shining and I’m smiling

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I dislike discomfort so I pretend I am not grieving but the more I resist the stronger you get

I am exhausted from running so here I am dear grief ready to find meaning

I invite you to come sit with me in the darkness

I invite you to come sit with me in the rain

I invite you so I can accept the hidden pain because in it there is the greatest gain

I invite you so I can learn from you

I invite you so I can rise again

I invite you so I can love more deeply and wisely 

I invite you to show me how to grow so I can heal my wounds

I invite you because I choose to expand my heart

I invite you so I can move towards the light

I invite you because I want to grieve with love rather than fright

I invite you so I can be present without strife and bathe in the beauty of life

I invite you to hold my hand because this journey is long

Dear Grief let’s be friends and continue to be until I take my last breath

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