“Grief will happen either as an open healing wound or as a closed festering wound, either honestly or dishonestly, either appropriately or inappropriately.” Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
One of my sons was talking to a professor he had at university, now retired. The professor expressed unexpected grief at leaving the university. Retirement was his choice, he is happy in retirement and yet there is grieving for what was.
A friend of mine has made a major change in her life. She is sure she is in God’s will, this was a decision made with prayer and yet she still feels grief over the life that was.
I think that grief is a natural emotion in times of transition, and yes, it can be unexpected . We tend to think that once a decision or change is made, all will well.
All will be well and the decision no doubt is a right decision and yet we still have to experience a grieving for what has changed. To feel both gladness and grief is part of the human condition. And to deny this feeling, deny grief, to bury it and forget, is also to deny the joy we feel in our new life.
For sometimes, grief and joy during transitions go hand in hand.
“And I say this, I do not think the forest would be so bright, nor the water so warm, nor love so sweet, if there were no danger in the lakes.” C.S. Lewis, ” Out of the Silent Planet.”
It helps we mothers to remember this, and to allow ourselves to experience grief as well as happiness in transitions. It helps us to practice self care. Doing this, we set a powerful example to our children.
It helps us, too, to remember this for our children, to allow them time to adjust during transitional times.
A number of times we, as mothers, wonder what is up with our children when they are rude or silent or morose or withdrawn. We are tempted to say ” What’s up? You wanted this change or this change is all for the good.” Or we are tempted to wonder why the child is displaying unacceptable behaviour after a move or a new baby or when mum has been unwell.
The child is experiencing his own form of grief over transitions. We can understand this and model a way of working through this. We can make exceptions. We can give it time.
And give ourselves time, too.