We are currently living in difficult times, and grief is becoming all too familiar in our lives. Many of us are not only grieving the loss of a loved one, but because of the pandemic, we could be grieving the loss of what our lives once were, the loss of a career, or the loss of relationships. Let’s first look at the definition of grief; according to Merriam-Webster dictionary, grief is defined as the following: a deep and poignant distress caused by loss or as if by bereavement, a cause of such suffering, a trouble or annoyance. As we read the definition, grief is not mutually exclusive to only death and the bereaved, but it has a broader definition.

After the loss of my daughter Amyia, it took a lot of energy and courage to begin processing her death. There were times when journeying through the grieving process was too emotionally painful; therefore, disengaging and supplementing my trauma with other distractions became my normal. However, I noticed that distracting myself from my grief was only short-term, and the emotions I tried to dismiss or distract were not going anywhere. I concluded that if I didn’t take the time and energy to journey through my grieving process, it had the potential to show up as dysfunction in other areas of my life.

I took small steps in healing from the trauma I experienced through grief. What is liberating to know is that grief is a journey, not a destination. We don’t have to live in our trauma if we choose to take the steps towards healing. You may ask how this relates to Grieving to Grow, and I will take a moment to explain. Grief is very frightening, in fact, many people choose not to go through their grieving process because they don’t know what is on the other side of it. Is there peace? Is there more turmoil? Is there more disappointment? Many are afraid that grieving will open them up to more trauma. This type of thinking could leave a person to conclude that grieving is not worth the time or energy, leaving them stuck in their trauma.

I understand the logic because I was once a person who felt the same way; however, what is on the other side of grief is hope, healing, and growth. Journeying through your grief grows you. As we heal from the trauma associated with grief we understand our emotions, we can identify our triggers, which results in us becoming more self-aware; in turn, we grow! Now, grief is no pleasure cruise or exciting adventure but what’s on the other side of it is far better than what you are currently experiencing. Even though I have gone through my grief journey, it doesn’t negate the fact that I miss my daughter, Amyia, or that there are times where external events trigger me, and I get sad. What it does mean is that when I am more self-aware about my feelings and emotions, I don’t ignore, dismiss, or try to distract myself, but I embrace them. My emotions are an indicator of something within my soul that I need to acknowledge. That’s what I mean by this concept of grieving to grow, we embrace the journey of grief to successfully move towards our healing, and when we heal, transformation can occur, and we grow.

Shayna Acree is the owner of Shayna Acree & Associates, and Founder of From Amyia Grief and Loss Recovery. To learn more about Shayna or to contact her, visit Fromamyia.com or email: Fromamyia@gmail.com. You can also find her book There is Hope on the Other Side of Grief: You Can Live Again, on Amazon.