I imagined a silver ball bouncing around inside the weekly lottery machine. I knew that it was unlikely that someone else could associate that image with feelings of grief and yet, it was the best metaphor I could come up with that explained the unpredictability of my emotional patterns when I mourned for my near and dear ones who had passed away over the years.
Today, grief is seen as a psychological problem that has to be overcome. The grieving person gets time off work for the funeral, is often handed a prescription for an antidepressant, and is then given membership for a bereavement support group.
It was pointed out to me that there \was a right way and a wrong way to grieve and if I chose the wrong way, it would be my responsibility to seek treatment, either by taking medication or starting a course of psychotherapy.
I didn’t think that I believed in rituals, but I realized that the traditions I turned to while mourning gave me a sense of control over my grieving process and in time, helped alleviate my grief somewhat. Playing a favorite song, walking along the beach or watching a sunset evoked fond memories and brought on a cathartic cry, which was usually helpful.
Frankly, from my experience of grief after losing far too many near relatives, three in traumatic ways, I didn’t think that my grief needed to be treated. I truly believe that grief is a part of the human condition similar to fear or anger. Maybe grieving deeply was the price I had to pay for loving so deeply.