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My Open Letter to Grief

Vulnerability breeds empathy, which is the foundation for all human connection. When we show others our wounds, we offer ourselves tender love and care. We show our pain that it can be held and cared for.


Healing requires us to live courageously and allow ourselves to fully experience the feelings of loss and grief. Courage is to tell your story with your whole heart. When grief is part of your story, it needs to be held to be healed.


We cannot heal what is not processed, and it takes time to move through the pain of loss and experience the emotions of grief. Even when it is scary, we must follow our hearts and honor our grief. Allow our hearts to heal the way they want to. Grief teaches us the power of love, and our resilience.


When we practice courage we can lean into showing the world our whole self, wounds and all.




Grief does not obey your plans, or your wishes. Grief will do whatever it wants to you, whenever it wants to. In that regard, Grief has a lot in common with Love.

-Elizabeth Gilbert



An Open Letter to Grief:


Ignore it all you want. It will come to get you.


I had a client die. I am used to death. It has been all around me. Personal and professional. I cannot tell you how many death notifications I have given. How many people I have seen die. The dead people I have seen.


The emotions.


I did not expect the amount of emotion nor the challenge of helping my client in the end of life transition that we spoke about many times.


I am human.


We can have the best of intentions but when in the moment, it changes. You change. We change. Others change. What we expect things to be is not quite what it becomes.


We all grieve differently, as unique as a fingerprint.


Grief does weird things to us. It can make us act out of character. It can consume our whole being and make us feel out of sorts. Like a different person. Consume us in ways we never imagined.


I may be called “psychologist” but titles mean nothing at this moment even though I used them to try to defend against the emotion I did not intend to feel. I have decades of experience in working with death, dying, and mayhem, under various titles. No titles prepare you for grief.


If there is one thing I have learned about grief, you ignore it, it will haunt you.


It will show up in the times we don’t want it to.


Grief will rise when you need to be composed.


It will make you feel like you're losing your mind. Grief may make you question your sanity.


Like the time I could not turn off a light in my home as I kept seeing the dead face of my friend, my coworker, over and over in my mind, till it finally stopped. It was my obligation to determine her cause of death. I hear my client's dying breath, like I have heard so many others do, yet it landed differently this time. Moments that stay with me.


Logically, I understand my brain is trying to make sense of reality. The reality that 24 hours earlier, my coworker and I were laughing and talking about how chocolate was the best thing in the world. Then, I was sawing open her skull, while tears were flowing down my face, to find out she had died from a brain aneurysm. The same way, less than two weeks ago, my client and I were laughing and walking before she was diagnosed with metastatic cancer and died.


I say, died. It may sound harsh but the truth. Reality, it’s what we need in the darkest of times. The act of grieving, believe it or not, helps.


We need the human touch. Golden Rule - do unto others as you would have them do unto you. I blew out her hair and painted her fingers and toe nails as that were her wishes. I laughed about sliding into the home base of life's chocolate. Fulfilling each other's wants no matter what when we died. Life is not guaranteed and this moment, the present, is truly a gift.


The gift that my client gave me over our years of connecting as souls is priceless. Doing the right thing because it is the right thing to do. The basic principles of life.


I would not change anything I have experienced. I have been there for them the way I know I would want people to be there for me.


Tomorrow, I will walk and celebrate with my client, whom I call a friend. Such an incredible soul that deserves to be celebrated and remembered for all that our relationship has brought and changed in the world.


The imprint will not be forgotten.


May we live as brave and fearless in honor.


Courageously,


Misty


When we trust others with our sorrow, fear, and grief, we make a deeper connection with others. We all experience loss and grief. We are not alone. We are never alone. And we are here for each other.


Sadness is actually what deeply bonds us as humans. It takes real courage to support each other through grief and pain. The people we are closest with in our lives are often those we have shared the hardest times. It’s generally pretty easy to be around people when we are happy.


Each time that we allow ourselves to be seen at our lowest points, our trust and connection with those we share that vulnerability with deepens. Our trust in ourselves deepens, because now we know that we can move through the pain.


Connection is why we are here, it's what gives meaning and purpose to our lives. It isn't easy being vulnerable yet worth the risk if we want to experience true connection.

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10 Comments


Guest
Sep 25, 2023

Thank you for your vulnerability and rawness, and I am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for being an example of how to sit with our humanity and how to connect. Sending hugs.

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Misty Getrich
Misty Getrich
Oct 03, 2023
Replying to

You are very welcome. I appreciate your response and acknowledgement of how vulnerability and openness leads to connection. I feel those hugs.

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Guest
Sep 22, 2023

Such a beautiful, human face of grief. We often times ignore grief to get through our work day, which often leads to ignoring more than one piece of grief in a day. Inevitably, we just continue to pile on more grief and keep ignoring it because now there is so much grief, that we feel we can’t or don’t know how to processes it. Thank you for the gentle, real reminder that it is ok and so important to allow ourselves to face our emotion, as hard as it may be. It may do us all well to remember “Our trust in ourselves deepens, because now we know that we can move through the pain.”

Thank you Misty for…

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Misty Getrich
Misty Getrich
Oct 03, 2023
Replying to

Serena, I am so very grateful for your words and that you connected to my post in such a deep way. Our emotions are what make us human. When your work exposes you to such intense situations on a daily basis, it is important to remember that you are a human being that has feelings that need to be cared for delicately.

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Guest
Sep 21, 2023

I have seen death, but have not experienced it personally until recently when my grandmother passed away at 98 Years old. I appreciate your words and insight, as logically I understand her blessed life and how blessed I am for having her as my person. Emotionally the grief experience is new for me, and as much as I want to control when it shows up, I realize I cannot. So thank you, for helping me see, whatever or whenever grief shows up, I will accept it and allow myself to feel it.

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Misty Getrich
Misty Getrich
Oct 03, 2023
Replying to

I appreciate you sharing. You are very welcome. Grief can feel so intense and awful yet gentle and beautiful. It comes in various forms and sizes. Creating a connection with your grief, giving it space, allows you to honor your grandmother and the relationship you had.

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This is thoughtful. thank uou For advocating for the unpredictable look of grief.

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Misty Getrich
Misty Getrich
Oct 03, 2023
Replying to

Mel, thank you for the words. Unpredictable roller coaster ride.

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Guest
Sep 21, 2023

Yesterday I lost a dear friend and coworker Thank you for this 💔 I have cried off and on for two days

She was my friend and I loved her

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Misty Getrich
Misty Getrich
Oct 03, 2023
Replying to

Thank you for sharing. It sounds like you were meant to read my words at just the right time. Our tears are an extension to our language. By allowing the flow of emotion and being tender to yourself, you are honoring the close relationship you had with your friend and coworker.

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