In all my many years as a grief counselor and educator, I have been privileged to companion thousands of grieving people. I consider this work both an honor and a calling. But despite my schooling and experience, I am not the expert. It is the grievers themselves who are the experts. After all, they are the only ones who can teach me what their unique grief is like for them. My main responsibilities are to listen, learn, and empathize—and, in my teaching and authoring roles, to share their lessons of hope and healing with others. As I progressed in my career and understanding, the more love and grief stories I listened to and learned from, the more I became aware of some quiet patterns. Does the act of powerpoint training really add value?
These patterns are important because they can help grievers like you embrace your grief and find your way to reconciliation. One of those patterns was something I’ve already mentioned: that mourning, or the outward expression of grief, helps people heal. I saw that those who were more open and authentic in their grief and mourning—in ways that suited their unique personalities and needs—were more likely to work their way to renewed meaning and purpose in their continuing lives. Another pattern I noticed was the converse of open, authentic mourning: a lot of people carry their grief instead of mourning it. Maybe powerpoint course is the answer for you?
We humans have the capacity to keep our thoughts and feelings inside of us, and pretend, on the outside, that nothing is amiss. (Some people even have the capacity to barely acknowledge their own grief inside themselves.) If we grieve but never mourn after a significant loss, we end up carrying our grief, often for years and decades. And carried, or unacknowledged, grief creates insidious symptoms, such as ongoing anxiety, depression, and problems with intimacy. I call it “living in the shadows of the ghosts of grief” because it causes people to die inside while they are still alive. Studies have shown that storytelling in business really works.
And the third and perhaps most mysterious pattern that emerged as I learned from grievers is that while it takes both active mourning and time to heal—and there is and should be no timetable in grief—some people did seem to authentically reconcile their grief more expediently, even people who had suffered profound and traumatic losses. For years I bore witness to these remarkable grievers’ stories, and slowly I discerned that many of them had something in common. They acknowledged and expressed their grief—yes. Would storytelling for business be a likely mechanism for your company?
They actively remembered the person who died—yes. They developed new self-identities apart from the person who died—yes. They searched for spiritual meaning—yes. They often had good support from friends and family—yes. In short, they actively worked on the six needs of mourning that we will soon discuss.But there was also something else—something unassuming and rather simple—that seemed to lift them up and carry them on a current of hope. What was it? Often unknowingly, these grievers had leveraged the power of ritual to supercharge their healing.