“The best way out is through.” –Robert Frost

I’d like to talk about the elephant in the room for many – grief! Is there anyone who hasn’t felt some grief? Or, do you recognize it as such?

Maybe you say, “I’m not grieving!” Many people only equate grief with the loss of a loved one. I wasn’t really aware of grief’s presence or impact until after one of my sons died. Grief was quickly compounded by other significant losses in a very short period of time.

Until then, grief was just a concept to me that happened when someone died. I remember my therapist telling me that we need to, “learn how to grieve well, because life is interwoven with grief.”

I spent some time in intensive therapy shortly after my son died and my marriage was dissolving in front of me. At the same time, my eyes were being opened to the dysfunction in my life. I was having panic attacks every day and wondering if I could survive, when the therapist told me, “Feel all you can feel.”

Here I was wanting to crawl out of my skin from the intensity of the pain and she was telling me to go even further into the pain and feel everything I could feel. I had to learn new ways to feel these feelings that would be sustainable – I added yoga, meditation, and walking in nature.

Grief has a presence within trauma. It is in the loss of a dream, or a diagnosis of some kind, loss of job or home, a heartbreak. A loss of self. There is individual grief, and also collective grief that we all experience. A pandemic, the marginalization of any group… the list goes on.

Grief is no longer the dark enemy, but instead a window into my heart! Grief is a giver of gifts as we walk our own recovery journeys. My hope is by sharing parts of my process that it will inspire others in their own walk… one precious moment at a time.

Cheri Thomas

Cheri works as a Peer Support Specialist for RI in Arizona. She has experienced loss and grief which has led her to write for the masses to bring voice to those in similar situations. Cheri possesses a deep passion to share with, encourage, and inspire others on what she calls the Journey of the Heart.