The Grieving of Grief

The grieving of my grief got me here

With each death, I died

Only I didn’t know I was dying

Until too much death and loss caught up to me

Until the stench and heaviness found me one day

And when it found me it gutted me like an animal and left me to heal in the open air

I was gutted by grief

There were days and months I didn’t think I would find my insides again

There were days and months I didn’t want to find my insides again

I was either going to rot in the hot, baking sun of my soul exposed or I was going to heal

And there were days I prayed for the former; I prayed to be released from the pain of this human life

Too much love

Too much death

Too much loss

It finds you


You can run

You can hide

You can pretend

You can distract

You can dress pretty

You can use your mind to create a false reality

And, Someday

It will find you


It will pull you to the ground, gut you, and leave you to rot, and to heal


This is what a life of un-grieved grief did for/to me


So today

Here I sit, on the other side of it

I am not fully healed

I don’t think I ever will be

That’s not the point

There is no perfectly, perfect healed life

There is only healing

A conscious, deliberate grieving of one’s grief


Finding the quiet spaces in the day and sitting with the grief

This is it

This is the way to get into the rot that loss has caused the soul

This is the way we give light and air to the dank, smelly, gruesome parts of our being that haunt us

We have to get quiet


It’s the quiet we avoid too well

We are masters at it

We have too many distractions, devices, and darlings to keep us busy with the external world

But you know

You know that you need to get quiet


It terrifies you

It terrified me

And, it sort of excites you too

You know what you have to do


I will not tell you it is a beautiful, fun, enlightening experience

It is not

You will resist the quiet for a very long time (years likely)

You will flirt with the idea for a while—you are good at flirting so this will sustain you for a while

Life will move on

There will be many highs to hold on to

There will be a few lows you will tiptoe through (tip-toeing because you are begging God and the universe that this one won’t take you down)

There will be more flirting with the quiet

There will be more life lived

There will be some confusion, suffering, and some crises to get through

You will survive these (you will also pray that these don’t take you down)

But you will survive these

Life will move forward

And then

Then, life will happen

Perhaps it is a family crisis

Perhaps it is another loss

Perhaps it is another silly decision you made that comes back to haunt you

Whatever it is

It will come

When it comes

It will finally, and inevitably tip you over

You will:





Curl up in the fetal position and gasp for air

You will choke on your own snot

You will feel like someone set you on fire with your guts submerged in alcohol

You will beg, pray, and plead for relief

Only you know better this time

You now know that you have to do this

You have to feel it all

You have to set your soul on fire

You have to smell the putrid fragrance of your old pain and loss burning away

Burn it away

Burn it out of you (not literally please)

Feel it

Feel it all


And slowly

Day after day

Month after month

Year after year

You will emerge

You will wake up from this pain

You will look down on the ground, see your healed guts and you will want to start re-assembling them

You will slowly start to put them back together

You will emerge


And when you do, it will feel like you have new flesh

It will feel like someone hooked your cells up to a generator and hit the on button for the first time

It can only be described as a re-birth

Only this time you get to feel, see, and remember your birth

This time you get to choose your birth

This time you get to choose your path


Your grief will kill you a thousand times

And your grief will birth you once and for all


Let it kill you

Then choose to let it heal you

The greatest power in our lives comes from choosing to heal ourselves naturally

Choose death, and then choose life—your life

This is the greatest thing you can do for yourself and your health

Cheers to your health revolution,

Dr. Shanna


Photo Credit: Will Van Wingerden