Emotional Healing: Acceptance … A Difficult Word In Grief

Golden Willow Retreat

Editors Note: This is the fourth in a series by grief specialist Dr. Ted Wiard, dedicated to helping educate the community about emotional healing.

We have been discussing the topic of grief and how it is a natural and normal healing process from any type of loss.

Grief is the process of redefining one’s self after loss into the new situation and definition of who that person is now.

In the previous columns, we have discussed the first four phases of grief which are, denial, anger, bargaining and depression.

This week the topic is acceptance within the grief process. Acceptance can be a difficult word when discussing healing from loss as semantics do not always align with emotions and can cause resistance to the concept of healing from loss. Feelings and vocabulary do not always fit together and can cause frustration as trying to explain or understand feelings is difficult with our limited vocabulary.

Acceptance is defined as “the action of consenting” to receive or undertake something offered. In the grief process, acceptance is the acknowledgement of the fact that there is loss. It does not mean everything is okay and that the loss does not matter, it only means that there is a higher awareness of the loss.

With this acknowledgement of the loss, a person can consciously start to heal from it.  As the brain moves through different levels of denial, and is able to claim there is a loss, their system will start to construct the new normal, and their cognitive and emotional realms will be able to start to realign to the present moment, rather than the historical perception the person holds of themselves and the world around them.

Loss is an emotional amputation, as a piece of your life has been taken away. If someone had a physical amputation, they would need to acknowledge the loss, give the loss attention through medical support, then slowly rehabilitate into the present situation by adapting to the new situation.

This does not mean that the person thinks its great and awesome. It only means that they were willing to become aware that something had happened and there was a need to transform into the present situation.

Loss will cause someone to be caught in the past while overwhelmed by the future. As the person acknowledges the loss and grieves the past, they start to inch into the present situation so that they are not engulfed by the past.

As there is a higher level of acceptance to the fact of the loss, the person is no longer confined and defined by that loss but is able to have their loss be a fact in their life in which they can glean wisdom to support them presently.

Acceptance, like the definition, is the acknowledgement of the loss, and gradually consenting to step into the grief process, allowing healing from loss and aligning to the present situation and definition of life. I wish you well, and until the next column, take care.

Grief Support Group, a six-week session, is 5:30-7 p.m. beginning Thursday in Room 311 at United Church, 2525 Canyon Road. It is a drop-in group for people experiencing all kinds of grief. For information, contact Lori Padilla, LMHC, at 505.795.5723.

Golden Willow Retreat is a nonprofit organization focused on emotional healing and recovery from any type of loss. Direct any questions to Dr. Ted Wiard, EdD, LPCC, CGC, Founder of Golden Willow Retreat  GWR@newmex.com or call 575.776.2024