“Grief is the great transformer.” –Lee Harris

Life and death will always be a circle. Both teach us about the other. Without death, there would never be a full appreciation for life. One of the most life-giving gifts from grief I’ve received has been vivid experiences of both/and! Both the brutal and the beautiful. It is not either/or – it is both/and. They complement each other and offer us the full range of human experiences while also giving us opportunities to “unpack” and heal layers of ourselves.

If someone you have loved has died (including miscarriages and stillborns) and/or you have ever loved someone who is not with you anymore – for whatever reason – it is not unhealthy to feel sad at times or miss them for the rest of your life! It only means love was, and is, still present. This does not mean you are stuck in grief.

If there is never a balance to the grief experienced, then that can present issues. There is a flow to healthy grief – it’s a both/and process. One both weeps from the grief, and also laughs and celebrates the time together and the memories of those they’ve loved. And, both happen from the time of loss onward if not suppressed. It does change how it feels along the way. And, it cannot be overstated that no two grief journeys look alike.

Grief has been a huge transformer in my life and also in the lives of those I’ve been honored to witness. I can also say it has led me to “more life,” more gratitude, more heart expansion, more desire to live the best life possible. I have met wonderful people I never would have met due to grief. I am a peer support specialist and work on RI’s Warmline both in large part due to my grief journey. I started writing, I dream more, I’m more aware, which enables me to enjoy beauty in things I used to miss entirely. And, I witness “more life” in others I’ve companioned through grief. It shows up uniquely for every individual, and how authenticity shows up is also different for everyone.

I don’t need to write about grief. Rather, I do it to empower you to have the courage to embrace whatever grief you are feeling in your life from any source. I’m shouting out from the rooftops that grief that’s grieved will, in time, lead you to “more life.” Who doesn’t want to live life more abundantly?

All Recoveryincludes grief of some kind. If you need help with the both/and of grief~~reach out for resources; they’re plentiful. Please don’t miss out on the transformative power that grief has to offer you!

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.