First of all, death and grief are soul journeys. Grief is a spiritual journey, a journey from darkness back into the light. It is a journey that takes time, support and care... and then more time. Grief educator Alan Wolfelt reminds us that "love is at the center of grief." We do not grieve unless something we loved dearly has been taken from us. The journey of grief can be marked by crying out, introspection, silence, lamentation, and loneliness. Grief creates in us a yearning for the presence of love or of God again, and moves us into a time of paradoxically learning to let go while learning again to receive love or comfort. Each person must engage their grief: each one must walk through the pain of grief in order to realize the healing which comes along the way. I believe (and have witness) how the journey of grief will lead to a healing which one both needs and seeks.
Grief is both an inside job and an outward expression. Loss is simply losing something or someone. Grief is the normal process of reacting to a loss. Grief and grieving are the internal thoughts and feelings one carries within oneself about a loss. Loss happens TO you, and grief happens IN you. Mourning is what happens OUTSIDE of you: it is outward expression of grief. Wolfelt succinctly, and rightly, says that mourning is "grief gone public." It is that outward expression of grief, mourning, which ultimately helps one to integrate a loss back into life.
This is why grief work is an integral part of hospice work. It is a difficult journey to walk back into the light. When one can make this passage, that light illumines a different view, a new way of seeing and being, and reveals a place where one will eventually become, in Hemingway's profound words, "strong in the broken places."