Living Gracefully with Uncertainty and Change (#5)

By: Cara Barth

“How lucky I am to have had something that makes saying goodbye so hard.”

A.A.Milne: The House at Pooh Corner

Healing is a painful process! Ask anyone that has undergone a broken bone that needs to be re-set or someone who has had cancer with reconstruction surgery, they will inevitably tell you stories of pain endured on their road to healing. It seems a strange combination of events to ponder that such a duel existence of opposites preempts healthy conclusions. How is it we must experience the pain to enhance the healing? The essence of being human is one full of cycles that seem to mimic contradiction. While this may create a sense of frustration, if we keep moving and working on our healing journey, the stronger the resolve of character is built into the fabric of our spirit!

When it comes to a loss, the 6 Pieces of “Transitional Grief Patterning” (TGP); Loss/ “Pain” → Shock/ “Anger” → Protest / “Remembering” → Disorganization/ “Guilt” → Reorganization/ “Forgiving” → Recovery/ “Gratitude”, help to create the groundedness needed in learning what it is we are moving away from and where we are headed. They help clear the fog of our identity confusion.

The third part of grieving is Protest / “Remembering.” Leaning into this new season of our lives means we must spend some time remembering what has been lost. During this time, we may seem to others to be protesting the whole situation we have found ourselves in, because we keep re-telling the events over and over and over and over again to ANYONE who will listen! This is when we create a long grocery line into a personal “bearing of the soul to strangers” session. We notice people seeing us coming and crossing the street in avoidance. While this may be disheartening for us, it’s totally a natural part of the process, and we must surround ourselves with people who are good listeners. We are trying to come to terms with the absence of someone/something that was important to us. “Remembering is such a continuous process because significant losses are a loss to the whole self. They affect the mind, body and soul. We orient ourselves in relationship to significant people and situations. Part of the reason we keep talking about ______ is to help us reorganize our minds.” Dan Moseley’s Lose-Love-Live

“Living is like tearing through a museum. Not until later do you really start absorbing what you saw, thinking about it, looking it up in a book, and remembering, because you can’t take it in all at once.”

Audrey Hepburn

Whether it’s a person, place or thing that was lost, we developed a relationship within this place of comfort, and a memory is a non-tangible that serves us well at this point of the healing process. This place of mourning allows one to keep pursuing the old relationship, while creating a space for the emerging perspectives around what has changed in the situation and how all the pieces are going to fit together in the future. Blending painful as well as happy memories is important. We must feel all of them and allow for all the emotions that will come – particularly the hurtful memories must be addressed! “To ignore painful or ambivalent memories is to prevent yourself from healing. If you repress or deny these memories, you risk carrying an underlying sadness or anger into your future.” Alen D. Wolfelt, PhD Understanding Your Grief

In my experiences, remembering the past absolutely makes a hope for the future possible. Do not let yourself or others deprive you of this process. Speak your experiences as many times as needed to bring the closure and light into perspective. Find folks that will listen and allow this process, while not trying to rush you through it. This is a time for walks in the park, porch sitting, and “couch time”. Your future will only be open to newness in relation to how much you have embraced your past. I heard it said once that, “I can release the pain that touches my memories, but only if I remember them. I can release my grief, but only if I express it. Memories and grief MUST have a heart to hold them.” – Anonymous

I will leave you with this final thought below:

“The essence of finding meaning in the future is not to forget my past, as I have been told, but instead to embrace my past…

For it is in listening to the music of the past that I can sing in the present and dance into the future.”



  1. Reply
    Mary Ellen Collins says

    Wonderfully written. I agree! The past is important to be able to look at and learn from but not dwell there.

Post a comment

ArrayArray ( [file_get_contents_enabled] => 1 [curl_enabled] => 1 [ssl_version_ok] => 1 [curl_version_ok] => 1 [https_ipn_works] => 1 [http_ipn_works] => 1 [curl_version] => 7.60.0 [ssl_version] => OpenSSL/1.0.2k )