The Gift of Grief

As a divorced parent, I deeply know what it feels like to grieve the loss of my marriage – even though I was the one who chose the divorce, even though it has been almost 5 years since I moved out, and even though I have a fabulous new relationship.

Sometimes grief overtakes me when I least expect it; for example, on my son’s 13th birthday. I took my son and his brother out to dinner to celebrate his 13th birthday. We were laughing and having a great time. In walks a family of four – husband, wife, and 2 children. They sit down at a table and suddenly my old friend grief appears.

I felt an ache in my heart, grip in my belly, and tears welling in my eyes. Is this familiar to you?

So what I did was simply acknowledge what I was feeling (silently) and take some deep belly breaths. I allowed myself to both feel the sadness as well as the joy of the present moment with my kids. The grief subsided, although periodically I’d see them out of the corner of my eye and know it was not far away.

That night when I was alone in bed, I welcomed the grief and allowed my whole being to feel and be in the grip of grief. Why? Because that is how it passes – by giving it space and letting it fill me up, it moves through me until it visits me again.

So please, give yourself the gift of feeling your grief because if you try to suppress it or minimize it, it will just get louder! It needs to be acknowledged. Also, if you try to suppress one emotion, you end up suppressing all your emotions. Whether we like it or not, to full feel joy, we have to fully feel sorrow.

Perhaps the next time you are overcome with grief, you will give yourself the gift of fully feeling and embracing it, so that the next time you feel joy, you can fully embrace your joy and celebrate the richness and fullness of BEING human.

I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings in response.

In humbleness and service ~




Cat J. Zavis is an Attorney, Mediator and Coach for Divorced and Divorcing Parents. She has conducted workshops and trainings in Nonviolent CommunicationSM for hundreds of parents, lawyers, teachers, students, spiritual centers and professionals. In 2009, she was awarded a Peace Builder Award for her business. Her passion is helping parents learn how to communicate and work with their former partner or spouse so they and their children not just survive divorce, but thrive.


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