Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Fear of Feeling Better

In grief, especially long term grief, I think that perhaps people may feel fear and apprehension of feeling better.  That tension in your chest, that empty feeling in your heart, or that loss of power seems to become a place of comfort rather than a move to action.

In my limited time of working with grieving people, I tend to find those that desperately want to get better and those that don't.  It makes me wonder why.

In my own grief struggle, I was searching for answers.  I wanted to know why I felt so bad for so long.  I was aggressively seeking a solution.  When I found the Grief Recovery Institute, the program spoke to me.  The book spoke to me.  I felt deep within me that I had finally found an answer to lifting my soul up from the hurt.  When I went through the course, I poured myself thoroughly into it with every ounce of energy.  When completed with the loss of my son, I felt oddly different.  It took a few hours to sink in.  I noticed that I viewed other situations and difficulties that were adjacent to my loss much differently.  I noticed a missing feeling in my chest.  I searched for it, but I couldn't find it.  It was a familiar feeling of pain, not terrible pain, just a consistent reminder of the loss I had experienced.  Now, that was missing and I felt quite odd for a few weeks.

So, why delay stepping on the path to being you again?

I would like to know your thoughts.

Is it possible that familiar feeling of pain is something associated to the memory of the loved one?

Is there fear that the loss of the pain will cause us to forget our lost loved one?

Is there a fear to enter the depth of the pain and stir up those really deep painful feelings and relive that terrible day?

Is the person's identity so entangled with the loss that they fear losing who they really are?

Please give me your thoughts.



  1. I think this is a great blog post and I totally agree. I remember being very afraid of who I would be if/when I let go of the pain. I had not discovered GR at the time and I would sit in a hot bath and weep for hours. I would feel completely exhausted after all of my crying and then a sense of emptiness would wash over me...who would I be without the pain? It became part of my identity to be sad and that scared me too. I wanted recovery more than I wanted sadness so I did the work. Thank God for John W. James and Russell Friedman. I can't imagine where I would be without this work in my personal life and now I can't imagine any greater honor than walking alongside grievers as a Grief Recovery Specialist.

  2. Thanks for your story Kimberly. I too appreciate the life's work and body of knowledge about human response to grief of these two men. I'm proud to carry the healing to others.