Change and Grief

By December 4, 2017blog posts

Change is a form of loss and loss needs to be grieved.

We are familiar with grief over bad things: Cancer, death, divorce, abuse, assault, war, genocide, betrayal, infidelity.  These are bad things that we grieve – toxic, soul destroying things that hurt us and other people.  We understand what that grief looks like.

But there is also the grief over good things which can seem a bit counterintuitive. Maybe your child is graduating high school or university, maybe you are leaving one job and going to another one, moving from one city to another, winning the lottery.  No matter the situation – things are never what they were – it is change – good change, necessary change. You keep growing and maturing – which is a good thing yet change is a form of loss and loss requires grieving.

Every time you gain something – you lose something. You may get everything you ever wanted only to discover something in you also lost something. What sometimes happens is we say to ourselves ‘This is something good, why am I struggling’ and then promptly ignore the feelings.

Grief is normal. Grief is healthy. Grief is a sign that you are alive and awake and you are paying attention. There is grief over the bad but there is grief over the good.

I always remember a conversation with my lawyer, whom I would consider one of the most educated and aware men I know.  Where we were discussing images on the news from a funeral in the middle east. The village gathered around the casket and there were groups of people right up against the casket  throwing themselves on the coffin – wailing and weeping and mourning.  Yelling – it is so expressive and what we would consider over the top – draping themselves on the casket as it is parading through the streets. It was instinct for me to originally think – how primitive, antiquated as I compared that scene to funerals in the west – in North America.  We sit in a room with outdated furniture, perfectly still where people will actually apologize for being emotional – a very repressed way that we were taught to deal with grief.

Which one is more sophisticated? Which one is more healthy? Actually getting it all out, throwing yourself into the grief or sitting there still.

I remember when Princess Diana died. Hundreds of thousands of people came to Buckingham Palace and stacked up flowers and candles and cards. It was amazing to see the public outcry of grief and mourning.

Is it because we live in cultures that have no idea what to do with grief? We are never taught how to grieve. We are not shown that grieving is normal and a natural part of life. When a public figure passes away – it gives people a way to express all the grief they have been carrying around and didn’t know what to do with it. Think about someone who has passed away – whether it be an actor, a politician, a musician, an athlete – someone whom we have never met, never had a close relationship with, someone who would have no clue what our name is – and it deeply moved you and you couldn’t understand why.  Like how many millions of us were affected by the passing of Robin Williams. We didn’t know him personally.

I feel it is because it taps into all of this latent grief that builds up over our life that go unexpressed.  Almost like a volcano erupting we get a moment where the valve gets turned and it all comes out.

Grief is a natural response to change because change is a form of loss and loss is something you have to grieve.  Life is impermanence.  The universe in its natural state is always evolving – you are not living in a static world. Regardless of the change – sometimes grieving feels like the last thing that we should be doing yet it is the most important thing we could ever do. Be grateful for how it was so that you can be present here and now because here is where the joy is.


Kevin T. Cahill is an award winning sales professional and consultant specializing in the art of managing change and achieving great results. As the founder of The Change Revolution, this international best selling author and speaker inspires men and women alike. As someone who has mastered the art of resilience and hope, Kevin’s philosophy as a clarity builder is strategic and results driven. Kevin’s passion is to equip individuals and organizations with a renewed sense of clarity and excitement, knowing that positive change will bring about positive gains. His exciting creation The Change Revolution offers a winning blueprint for navigating through change and achieving success.

Speaking inquiries email or call 519-836-7989.

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