Grief protection

Grief, if you’ve ever felt it, is over-powering.

What to do about it has been a source of discussion in grief counseling for years.  When Leroy died, I would experience waves of grief.  The sadness would come over me at the oddest times; I’d be sitting on the couch watching TV or driving in the car when something on the radio would trigger a thunderstorm of tears.  The grief would pour out of me.  Grief counselors would try to explain how the process works and how long this would take to pass, and I would listen, hoping to hear something that would guide me through this awful time.

Walking helped the most.

I was a lucky girl because of a friend had experienced a tragic loss of her own shortly before Leroy died.  We walked together and talked together, helping each other along the way.  The walking never stopped.  We have pounded the dirt at the C and O Canal for years now, talking through our grief, her breast cancer scare, my adjusting to being a widow, and just plain old daily life.  Walking is our safety net.

Amanda Loudin, a Washington Post journalist, writes about how “Exercise helps when you need it most” in today’s paper.  Experts like Allison Gilbert, a grief expert and author of “Passed and Present” says that what grief takes away-energy, joy, focus- exercise can give back.

I’m living proof of this phenomenon. I’m sure there’s a chemical reason exercise works, and certainly a psychological reason too and I appreciate both, but I’m most grateful for how it just simply pulled me out of some of the worst times of my life.

Grief is part of loss.  It comes with the territory.  But there’s no reason not to step up and step out of its reach before the damage can’t be reversed.

Anyone for a walk?


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