The ABC's of Grieving
By Rob Anderson
Used with permission from Centering Corporation - publisher of Grief Digest

Always be good to yourself.
Only you can heal you, so it's very important that you be good to yourself and take care of your body, mind and spirit. You're the driver on this journey, drive carefully, but do keep driving by being good to yourself.

Believe in your courage and your power.
Courage you have. The testament to that is that you're reaching out for help by reading this. Believe in your courage and it can guide you to good places where you can use the power of your commitment to help yourself feel better.

Constantly reach out for ways to heal.
There are many, many ways and places to find avenues for your healing. Through books, support groups, friends, family, asking for help and being in the moment, healing can happen at any time.

Do what's best for you.
To regain your smile, grieve and heal in ways that work best for you. Others may try to steer you down the path they want you to take, but always take the path that feels right to you, regardless of what others want. Listen to your heart.

Express yourself in positive ways.
There are positive ways and negative ways to let out your pain. How you do that will determine your healing habits. Grieve positively and you can heal and find your smile and meaning again. Grieve negatively and life could be more difficult for you and those who love you.

Fight for the life of your loved one.
Your loved one is much, much more than just his/her body. Your pain is deepest because of the loss of the physical, but she/he child can still live through your memories, their life force and your love. Death can never take those three things from you. Don't let death take it all.

Give yourself time.
This is a molasses-in-winter journey, be patient with your healing. It's slow, but it does move forward if you do your work. Don't expect your grief to ever completely leave you. After all, it tells you how much you loved.

Heal at your pace, regardless of what others may expect.
"Are you over it?" is what others may think and say. Pay no attention to them. This is your journey to be walked at your pace. There is no logical conclusion or finish line to your process. Do it at your speed as you move further down your path. Be true to yourself.

It's okay to feel anything you want to feel.
No matter how scary or frightening your emotions are in the beginning, it's okay to feel all of them. Let them in, express them in positive ways and the negative ones can leave you. If they linger and become your comfort zone, reach our for help.

Jump into a healing life with both feet.
The deep end of the pool may be scary, but for healing to begin, you must jump in with both feet and learn how to swim. Full commitment to your healing can see your return to a meaningful life where you can find your smile again.

Keep on truckin'.
Keep your pedal to the metal and never stop searching for ways to heal. You may have failures and setbacks (those are normal) and your engine may stop working for a while, but to heal your heart, pop the hood, crank your engine back up and throw yourself into forward gear.

Let your love keep you moving ahead.
It's in your love where you will find your greatest healing. There is no past tense to love. The love you have, you will always have. The love they give, they will always give. Love is the "Super Bowl" of healing.

Make the decision to heal.
Healing is a decision. Just like not to heal is a decision as well. Your broken heart will not mend, your smile will not return until you say, "I want to feel better, and I am determined to make that happen." Once that comes to your life, there will be no stopping you.

Never ever, ever, ever, ever give up.
Read that again.
Winners never quit and quitters never win. Your life will be difficult, no way around that. If you give up on yourself, it will remain difficult. If you never give up; and I mean never give up on yourself, good things can come to your life in many, many ways.

Occasionally get away from your grief work.
It's also okay not to grieve and to get away from your work for a while. Taking a break and having fun doesn't mean you're forgetting or letting your loved one go. It means their life is returning to your life in positive ways. Express your healing by experiencing the many good things life has to offer. You won't be leaving your loved one behind, you'll be taking him/her with you.

Patiently, but persistently push yourself.
There may come a time when you plateau in your journey and you'll wonder if you're healing has stopped. It has not stopped, but your expectations may set you up for failure because you think you should be further along in your journey. Drop your expectations of being at a certain place at a certain time and keep pushing forward.

QXZ-no, you're not going crazy, you're grieving.
Just like these letters don't make sense, your life won't make sense for a long time and you might feel like you're going crazy. Your life is in a blender switched on high while you're working through the most difficult journey you've ever begun. Keep doing your work and the blender will slow down and eventually stop. Life can make sense again.

Realize that it's okay to heal; it's okay to feel better.
Losing your pain doesn't mean you're losing your loved one or forgetting them. Guilt is a destructive force with no upside. It's absolutely okay to heal, it's absolutely okay to smile; that's what the life of your loved one is telling you-listen!

Stay on track, stay positive, stay strong.
Don't let grief win. Grief wants you down and thinking negative "I can't do this" thoughts. Give grief the boot by telling it "I am strong, I can do this," and keep your eyes on the prize, right along with your smile and meaning.

Touch the lives of others through your healing.
You get when you give. You can't give your love directly anymore, but you still have all of it. Give that love away by helping others through volunteering, writing, speaking or just holding another bereaved person's hand. Give away your healing by giving away your love.

Understand that your journey is survivable.
Look to other bereaved people who are further ahead on their path. Learn from them, listen to their healing stories and believe that you, too, can someday tell your healing story as well. This is a survivable journey where good things can actually come from the tragedy of your loved one's death. Sounds impossible I know, but it can be true. Keep working.

Victory can be yours.
As you do your work, you'll experience large and small victories along the way. Embrace them all, absorb them all and use them as a shield against your pain and suffering. Your ultimate victory will come when you think of your beloved and smile much, much more then you will cry.

Windows of opportunity.
Healing is possible every single day if you pay attention to the opportunities that come your way. It may be a butterfly, it may be a song, it may be a memory or a feeling of hope. HOPE: Healing Opportunities are Possible Everyday.

Yesterday, today and tomorrow.
It's called the past for a reason, it's time that has passed, never to return. If you try to live there (visiting is fine) your healing will suffer. As you know, tomorrow is unpredictable. No one knows what the new day will bring. If you pay attention to this moment and search for the healing in it, you can find it. Right here, right now is where you'll do your best work.