The paradox of grief is that finding a way to live with the pain is what enables us to heal. Coping with grief doesn’t involve immersion theory; rather, it is enduring the pain as it hits us (this often feels like a storm crashing over us), and then having a break from it through distraction, busyness and doing the things that comfort and soothe us. Every time we alternate between these two poles, we adjust to the reality that we don’t want to face: that the person we love has died.
The essence of grief is that we are forced, through death, to confront a reality we inherently reject. We often use habitual behaviours to shield us from the pain of this unresolvable conflict, but these can work for us or against us.
Pain is the agent of change. This is a hard concept to understand. But we know that if everything is going according to plan and we are content, there is no impetus to change anything. If, on the other hand, we suffer from persistent feelings of discomfort, boredom, anger, anxiety or fear in our everyday lives, it usually leads us to question ourselves to find out what is wrong: is it a problem with our relationship or with our work? What is it that needs to change before we can feel content, even happy again?