When you are grieving the death of someone close to you there is so much emotional energy that is spent. Between the shock of the realization that someone who has been a part of your life is gone forever to the many condolences given to the planning and attending of a memorial or funeral, it can be very emotionally draining. In the first two weeks or so after a death it all happens so fast with little time to process and even really fully feel your feelings. There are often a lot of people sending condolences and “thoughts and prayers”. The question “how are you doing”, seems to be on repeat. A prepared answer of “its hard but we are holding it together” is a common response.
On the other side of the story maybe you have a friend who is dealing with grief and you do not know how to help them. Every time you try to mention anything they clam up and they seem to not want to talk about it. It is always a sensitive topic to bring up when it comes to the way that someone grieves. Through time it has been said that “we all grieve differently”, a well known piece of advice is to “talk to someone about it”. Talking about our problems has always held a bit of a stigma because as soon as we reveal our weakness to someone we are now at risk for judgment by the person we share with.
Because we all grieve differently it is hard to make a sound judgment on what is healthy and what is not. At what point do you question the amount that someone wants to talk about things. It is very easy to look from the outside and say that someone needs to talk about things more. Maybe you become concerned about a person who shows a limited amount of emotion in regards to the death of a loved one..
Whether it is someone else who doesn’t want to talk about it or it is you, how one be ensured that the grief process is healthy and does not create unnecessary stress? There are so many ways to express grief that do not include talking to someone. Sometimes it seems like bringing those feelings up becomes more draining than helpful.
Listening to music whether happy or sad is a great way to express feelings without having to find words to express the pain. Music has a way of saying many of the things you feel. Any form of art whether it is painting, drawing, sculpting, all of these are non-verbal ways of self expression. Find which one appeals to you or your loved one the most and just start to create. Regardless of your talent as an artist, the act of creating can give you an outlet to release your emotions without having to discuss them. So much healing and release of sorrow can be generated by simply digging into your creative side and letting those feelings come out in the form of art.
Creative Expressions of Wordless Grief
- Listen to music
- Paint, draw, or grab an adult coloring book. Explore the seasons and how the cycle of death and rebirth every year applies to your life and grief.
- Find a familiar recipe or a recipe of your loved one and cook/bake
- Make a sculpture that depicts your grief or something that reminds you of your loved one
- Go for a run, join a running group to keep yourself accountable
- Go to your instrument of choice and play, either a song that fits how you’re feeling or write your own song
- Dance. Yes, even if it’s in your room all by yourself. Explore the 16 hieratic gestures that demonstrate the common emotions every human experiences https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fibLiyViYgA
- Use martial arts as a way to express, explore and control your emotions
- Scrapbook for yourself or as a memory book of your loved one
- Discover an art form that your loved one enjoyed doing. Did they love to sew or knit? Find a someone to teach you and make something that reminds you of your loved one.
- Take a class on some art form if you want to learn more on how you can hone your creative skills
Grief is a normal part of life. Always give each individual the freedom to grieve in way that works for them. Not all personalities fill their cups in the same way. More than anything respecting people in whatever way they choose to grieve can be vital to healing and wholeness.