The Emotions of Grief

****Note: I wrote this a few years ago after my Uncle David passed. It was posted on another site, but I wanted to repost in honor of my uncle, and to share these thoughts with others.****

Wolf-pack-1

By blood, I am a Wolf. What I know about wolves is they are a family system with their own rules, conflicts, and traditions. I also know that, like many other family systems, wolves mourn the loss of a pack member.

Grief is a time when many emotions are experienced at once. We are angry. We are sad. We might not accept the reality of our loss. We may experience these emotions one at a time or all together. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and there is no time limit for grief. Others may not understand our response, but that does not mean our response is wrong. The emotions of grief are our natural way of coping with events for which we do not have control.

Eventually, we will accept the reality of life (and death), and we may feel guilty for these feelings. I’ve read that wolves can mourn the loss of a pack member for weeks. What we must learn from wolves is, eventually, we must continue to huntwolf-pack-2, protect, and live free of guilt and shame. The life cycle will never end; it will continue to give life, nurture life, and take life back.

We must also continue to support and receive support from our other “pack members” no matter the distance between us. A lone wolf cannot survive on his or her own. As I write this, my family mourns a loss. Due to distance, I could not be with them on this day, but I stay connected to them through phone, text, and social media. Support can come from many different sources including family, friends, religious institutions, social groups, etc. Let these people in as the emotions of grief are strong and should not be experienced alone.

I dedicate this to my family and especially to my Uncle David who would be proud that I continued to move forward despite his passing.