Growing through grief is one of the miracles of life! This is within the realm of possibility for every bereaved individual.
One of the goals of a grief recovery program is to assist bereaved persons in discovering ways of utilizing their grief experience as a means of personal growth. This process is different for each individual because each person's grief experience is unique.
“Grief’s slow wisdom” is that difficult and demanding process of slowly and painfully discovering, maturing, deepening, and moving through the trauma of loss, not simply toward acceptance, but to that level where one is able to integrate the tragic and upsetting experiences into the total framework of life so that life can move to a higher level and different dimension.
From this new vantage point the bereaved individual is then able to view life from a new perspective, for now they have gained insight and wisdom they did not previously possess.
Another miracle that takes place in this process of growth through grief is that the bereaved individual becomes effective in helping other bereaved persons deal with loss. Thus their experience of loss has enabled them to not only be sympathetic but also empathetic. Yes, “experience is the best teacher.”
A prime example of this is the fact that many of my colleagues in the Association for Death Education and Counseling have experienced the trauma of grief; however, these persons have incorporated their various grief experiences into their professional work in such a way as to become proficient in helping countless individuals deal with grief. Among these colleagues are writers, teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, mental health workers, guidance counselors, physicians, nurses, clergy persons, social workers, funeral directors, and various other helping professions. And, a number of editors of professional magazines in the field of grief came to their positions due to grief experiences in their lives.
By making positive responses to loss and suffering, bereaved individuals become what they never dreamed they could become--gentle giants.
When loss occurs bereaved individuals chooses how they will respond to loss--either in a positive or negative way. A grief recovery program seeks to help persons find ways to make positive responses to loss so that they choose to respond to the upsetting experiences of life in a creative and constructive way rather than an unproductive and destructive way. Thus the bereaved individual is free to choose to grow through grief rather than being a prisoner to loss.