Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.

Healing doesn’t mean you aren’t grieving anymore


In the beginning you believe the worst possible thing that has just happened to you and your family is the absolute worst possible thing ever. That no family, no person can possibly be grieving as deeply as you are. And time passes and your focus shifts slightly beyond your own searing pain and you see that someone else is hurting too. That others have experienced similar events.

That it’s not all about you.

And that’s the first baby step to healing. That realization that you are not alone, that others have similar stories, similar, though not exact, pain.

I’ve started reading Cheryl Strayed’s “Brave Enough.” I’m not very far into it — barely started in fact — and already this quote of hers makes me stop and reread. And nod in agreement. And read it again. And want to share it with all of you.

“”When you recognize that you will thrive not in spite of your losses and sorrows, but because of them, that you would not have chosen the things that happened in your life, but you are grateful for them, that you will hold the empty bowls eternally in your hands, but you also have the capacity to fill them? The word for that is healing.”

And now, not an hour later, I’m reading a blog written by a woman who has been through trials most of us couldn’t imagine, including the sudden death of her husband a year ago. A line down near the bottom of the post stops me again. And makes me want to share it (and her) with you.

“Emotions don’t get better. We get better at holding them. They don’t get less heavy, we get stronger.”

Both women are right. Out of trials and loss and grief and pain we get stronger. And often we grow in directions we might never have moved without the experiences that left indelible scars on our souls.

I never wanted nor dreamed of the losses that changed our family. But given that’s the way it is, I’m pleased to continue the growth, spawned but not defined, by life events.

Wherever you are in the cycle of life, I hope you can see the light and hope and growth shining ahead of you. If you need a hand up, there are plenty of people willing to take hold. And if you’ve moved into a good place yourself, glance around once in awhile. Someone might be there, just in the shadow, ready to move, but needing a little nudge.

I’ll get off the soapbox now.

1954 Dad and Mom

1954 Dad and Mom

Author: dawnkinster

I'm a long time banker having worked in banks since the age of 17. I took a break when I turned 50 and went back to school. I graduated right when the economy took a turn for the worst and after a year of library work found myself unemployed. I was lucky that my previous bank employer wanted me back. So here I am again, a long time banker. Change is hard.

22 thoughts on “Healing doesn’t mean you aren’t grieving anymore

  1. I never mind it when you mount the soapbox, Dawn. You always have profound and meaningful thoughts to share.


  2. Wonderful post, Dawn, and thank you for writing it. Yes, sometimes we need a bit of help; then, when we’ve moved through the pain, we turn around and find someone we can help. Only by suffering can we truly empathize with those who are suffering.


    • It’s very hard, once you’ve suffered loss, to learn to listen rather than talk about your own experiences. Yet you need those experiences to understand more of what the other person is going through. I often have to remind myself as I’m listening to a new family’s grief spilling over that it’s NOT my story…to let them tell their own to me.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Thanks for sharing your emotions and this beautiful photo. You’ve touched my heart and made me think how much others can be hurting even though we don’t realize it.


  4. I thought what Carol wrote: Beautiful post.


  5. This might be just what I needed.
    My mom’s cousin lost his wife to cancer a few weeks ago. He’s hurting, and as part of his grief, has expressed anger that I wasn’t there for him. I understand that he’s angry, and I’m not taking his reaction personally, but I would like to help. I’ve called since, but he’s not answering. Any tips?


    • Sometimes a written note expressing your feelings and sympathy might help along with a mention that you’ll call in a few days. Then don’t give up. Keep calling. If he’s at a family event talk to him just as you would if he wasn’t upset. Don’t make too big a deal about him being angry. Just be there emotionally and when you can physically.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks Dawn. I think a written note might be just the thing. We were never much on phone calls, but I don’t want him to feel like I’m avoiding him. And I don’t want him to push people away successfully and end up depressed! Thankfully, my mom is hard-headed and keeps him on the phone.


  6. Dawn, this post is very precious. Cheryl Strayed’s quote is penetrating and wise, and you’ve shared the process so well. It’s interesting this thing called grief. I think it can be so different (and yet in many ways similar) for each person. Am thinking about death a lot this week and pondering writing a post about it. Maybe, we shall see what the flow has to say. But the depth and clarity of this post made me glad to stop by and think some more.


    • It’s a wide and deep topic, grief. Here I am 12 years into it and still it pours out of me. And here you are not a year yet and you have deep wells of it too. I think it helps to share. I hope you write your piece. And hugs, as always.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I very much enjoy your soapbox posts Dawn. I could read a whole book of your words of wisdom.


  8. I think grieving is one of the toughest things we go through in life. No one teaches us how to grieve it just happens. You finally get to the point that you are crying less and feel like you can feel again. That is when the grieving process is starting to get better and the healing process begins. There will always be days that set us back to crying again when we remember that special moment.


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