Don’t push grief away, it needs to come out!

We are socialised to hide our feelings, most especially if those feelings are intense. But grief is an intense feeling, and it is entirely meant to be. It is the measure of a love that we have felt for either someone or something. In fact, it is the last act of love that we perform so some say.


Normally – and l use the word with reference to something "done as a rule" not because l think our understanding of grief is normal in any way. In fact, l think as we are socialised we allow ourselves little recognition of what we can categorise or understand as grief.

Normally, we can allow it when someone dies. It's expected, similar to how we associate trauma with a huge event, and this is both true and appropriate. But rarely do we feel comfortable with our grief outside of those socially recognised occasions, and yes, here we go again, what is considered to be normal. Here, l can say, "To hell with normal!".

So where does that leave the sensitive person who is deeply affected by a loss, even if it is somehow considered by society or others to be a distant one?

Nowhere basically. Because, maybe they are not first in line for grief's unforgettable impact and probably have to hide their feelings, or legitimise them. Not only to others but to ourselves, heaven help us!

So spare a smile when you walk past someone in the street, you don't know what they might be going through as they pass you by

Here is a list of some of the not-so-obvious things that you might grieve. This is only a list, but please, if what you are grieving presently isn't on the list, do not feel that your situation is not worthy of the grief you feel. It is. Love is a wholly illogical thing, and more than often not, it's not about merit, but about personal significance.

  • Losing your youth.
  • Getting older.
  • Having a hysterectomy.
  • Having surgery.
  • Losing clear vision when your eyesight is fading.
  • Moving away from where you have known, even in the same country.
  • Moving country.
  • Losing your health and vigour.
  • Feeling fatigued that remains from an illness.
  • Watching someone cut down a tree.
  • A department store or group of shops closing that you have grown up with.
  • Seeing your pet growing too old to run anymore.
  • Winter somehow when all the leaves have gone and fallen.
  • End of summer.
  • Unrequited love from a friend, a lover, or a child.
  • Endless dating not meeting the right person.
  • Darker shorter days in the oncoming winter.
  • Christmas, when everyone seems to have a huge circle of friends and family nearby.
  • Watching the news daily.
  • Sundays and/or entire weekends alone.
  • Being ghosted.

I could go on, but basically, losing someone or something with whom or by which you have or have felt a connection, can make you feel grief. It doesn't have to be logical, nor does it have to be legitimised by someone else. It is personal.

Goodness, millions of people who never knew or met Princess Diana were heartbroken when she died. And more recently, the Queen. When being able to count on someone or something simply "being there" is no longer, we are somehow irrevocably altered by the change. Look at the Repair Shop TV programme – you could say it is so loved because of the people who can repair treasures that felt lost. They collaborate and make new ones, gifting the creation to the person to whom the original item was held dear. It is moving, and touching, and we need to be moved and touched. In that, we feel less alone, and it deepens our sense of belonging both within ourselves and in one another.

Loss hurts. So when you feel grief coursing through your heart, whether others acknowledge it or not, whether it is appropriate or not, allow it.

Let the tears fall, and move through the sadness. Often as children, we are not allowed to show our sadness when there is not time for it. We normalise the suppression of the feeling and then wonder why we get sick.

Please do not be ashamed of your own felt poignancy.

As l write this – and I recognise that this most likely is what provoked the writing of this piece – I am navigating the loss of two people that l loved within the last two weeks.

One was a beautiful woman who lived with my father for 26 years. She wasn't my stepmother because they never married, but she was nonetheless bound up in my memory of my father who died five years ago. And apart from loving her, l cannot think of her without thinking of my father and the home she made with him, and for me and my siblings, where we were always loved and welcome. So there is a lot that I feel I have lost here.

The other was my ex-mother-in-law, whom l was privileged enough to have had a very warm and loving relationship with over the last two years. I was with her during her last years and days. Even though she was very elderly – and we know that you cannot live forever – the logic of that is blown away by the loss, and being needed and the belonging felt because of that and by that. So much feels gone.

Endings seem everywhere when we need new beginnings the most.

We do not need to be given 'the right' by those who choose to hide and suppress their own grief in their own myriad of ways, to grieve someone or something, or the very personal associations we have by our relationship with them. It is part of our right to be human. It is our legacy to the person or experience we have lost – I know myself and personally, l would rather a thousand times over be witness to honest pain and grieving than be part of what is both unfelt and disallowed.

In summary, although there will always be a million more ways to write about our experience of loss and of grief, who is to say, how and for whom we mourn? But let it be allowed and let it be felt if in losing, tears can be a hallmark of our belonging.

As a society let us allow its synthesis for good emotional and physical health. Let us make room for every level of it. Whether it be the loss of a treasured childhood toy or memory, a stage in our lives that needs to be left behind, or a tree or someone we love, these are all relevant to our story here and part of our emotional tapestry. We can move on through our remembrance. You will move through it within the allowing.

For is not love our greatest celebration of the value and the meaning of life?

I dedicate this article to Barbara Raven and to Nita Press, two glorious, wonderful, beautiful women that l loved, and to those of you who are grieving right now. Hold on, your grief is your love and it is a very beautiful thing. It shows how much you care.

So spare a smile when you walk past someone in the street, you don't know what they might be going through as they pass you by. On days l have been at my lowest, the smile of a passer-by has had a felt warmth for me because grief is lonely, and the unprovoked kindness of someone's gesture needs no words, but can go a long way to feeling the whisper of belonging once more.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Life Coach Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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London, N8
Written by Gail Berry, Emotional and Relationship Coach
London, N8

Written by Gail Berry Emotional Coach - both a therapist and an alternative medical practitioner who works with healing people’s core wounds and uses Bach Flower Remedies alongside talking and behavioural therapy to make real change and transformation possible.
07771 715072
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