However, grief is no respecter of time, nor of person or place. He shows up when we least want him and, worse, when we least expect him.
How do you define grief? The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines grief as a deep sadness caused especially by someone's death. The Free Dictionary defines it as a source or cause of deep mental anguish.
My favorite is American Sign Language which translates grief as a person's heart being ripped apart.
Grief is our reaction to any loss in our lives, be it by death or by the breaking apart of any relationship or by watching a loved one suffer.
Grief is so personal that no one can truly understand another person's sorrow. I will never know the grief of an alcoholic husband nor the heartache of a child with brain cancer. Yet others will never know what I had to deal with on my mother's death bed or of my dealings with addictions and mental illness in the lives of some people very important to me. There is more grief I have lived with - that we all have lived with.
There are countless books written about grief, and I've been asked to write another. Most of the books talk about the stages of grief and/or how to cope with grief. There are some memoirs where the writers share their personal journeys through the grief process. Phillip Yancy is the only author I have read who talks about grief's unifying power.
Grief can paralyze us mentally and emotionally, if we allow him to. Or we can choose to break free from his power over us and become a stronger person, helping others in their grief and uniting us in our sorrows.