Last week my paternal grandfather passed away somewhat unexpectedly. He was 89 and had lived a full life still I was not ready to lose him. We talked regularly and I knew he was always in my corner cheering me on, whatever crazy scheme I might have been up to.
I have been VERY fortunate in that I had all 4 of my grandparents with me until 2003 when my maternal grandfather died. I know that most people are not so fortunate and I count it among my many blessings to have had my remaining 3 grandparents this long.
Alongside the grief of losing my grandfather, I have also tried to hold the grief of my community as, this week Charlotte became national news over the shooting death of Keith Scott by a police officer. It has been a challenging week, to say the least.
Holding Space for Grief
To hold space is to be with what is without trying to fix or change it. It means letting go of judgment and being fully present with whatever emerges without trying to control what might happen.
This week, holding space for my grief has meant giving myself permission to just be. To allow the tears to come when they wanted and to be gentle with myself as I processed all of what was happening around and within me.
It has also meant checking in with myself regularly to make sure I wasn’t “being tough and pushing through”.
Grief is hard! It takes a toll on the mind, body, and soul and most people, myself included, try to avoid their grief. Whether grief shows up as tears, anger, or frustration it is often easier to suppress it than allow it to be expressed.
I remember being taught that, as a leader, showing emotions was wrong. This was especially true as a woman in leadership because it could cause others to lose faith in me and my leadership (I remember being told these exact words once).
I found out about my maternal grandfather passing away while around a group of people. I clearly remember forcing myself not to cry so I didn’t come across as emotional. Despite having experienced a profound loss, I actively chose to suppress rather than feel my grief.
Loss & Grief
It doesn’t matter if the loss is a loved one, trust in a relationship, or the loss of a dream. When there is a loss, there is grief. But for many of us, that instinct to avoid feeling, or at least openly expressing, grief comes almost too easily.
In my case, I was taught that grief was not allowed because it showed weakness. Your narrative might be you “don’t have time” to grieve because you have too much to do.
Either way, choosing not to be with grief is damaging to the soul. It creates a pressure cooker of emotions that will often find release at some unexpected and inconvenient time. It is far easier, in the long run, to allow the grief rather than hide from it.
This week I am seeing that holding space for my grief and staying gentle with myself is allowing me to move through it. There is more ease here. I am not trying to rush anything; I am simply allowing what is to just be.
If you are facing a grief of some kind, my invitation to you is to be with your grief. Hold space for it so it can be fully expressed.
Also, be patient with yourself in the process because grief is not linear. It does not follow a timeline and tends to show up when it wants to.
But if you can stay with it, without judgment or trying to control it, you just might find yourself moving through it with more grace than you thought possible.
Here’s to you holding space for grief, and using it to as a stepping-stone to rise into your greatness.
From my heart to yours,
PS: If you find yourself needing support to process your grief then I invite you to see out the care of a licensed grief counselor. If, however, you’re ready to use your grief as a step forward into your greatness let’s talk. Click here to schedule a complimentary Greatness Activation Call with me today.