Paula McCann, an attorney specializing in elder law, gives us a new and useful term in her recent post "Grief Is Not Selfish!":
Unrequited grief is my term for the grief we carry around inside us that is unprocessed, unanalyzed, suppressed and hidden deep inside us, as if we have a subterranean storage compartment for all our sadness from loss.Regarding unrequited grief, she advises:
Give yourself permission to feel grief, live in it, swim in it if you want to, but acknowledge it and then start the process of healing from it.And she wisely observes that claiming permission to grieve is not magical but that people let go of grief "when [they] are ready ... little by little" -- and that grieving is often a lifelong journey:
Yes, sometimes grief becomes a companion for life, but it doesn't take over anymore, it has lost its control or intensity because we acknowledge it and keep living. Maybe we don't laugh as loud, act as carefree, or ever give our hearts away again, but we function, we live, we contribute, we find a way to a reconciled life.I also want to thank Paula for pointing us to a precious one-line story about grief:
"When my husband was dying, I said: 'Moe, how am I supposed to live without you?' He told me: 'Take the love you have for me and spread it around.'"Paula blogs at On the Way to Dying: Practical Experience and Insight on Dying in America.