Grief Kuel Thought Leader: Lisa Michelle Zega
April holds the deaths of three important people – my sister, fiancé, and dad.
It has been 30, four, and one year respectively since each passed from this life.
Each death left something undone in me. The conversations we never had, ones we didn’t finish, unsaid apologies, unmet expectations and dreams, what I wish I said and hope they knew, and what I wanted different and better.
“In every relationship, there is you, the other person, and the way the relationship with them lives in you.”
Grief clings to the unfinished.
How To Heal Grief:
In every relationship, there is you, the other person, and the way the relationship with them lives in you. Moreover, the relationship itself lives in you distinct from you or the other person.
So in every pair, there are three relationships. Grief healing is healing the way the relationship lives inside you.
I needed to complete my relationship with Misty (sister), Chip (fiancé), and my dad – not to let them go, but to change the way each one lives in me.
In other words, my body wanted to release regret and apologize for all the nasty things I said, the fistfights, neglected sister moments, and take in all the laughter, support, and love we shared.
There were things I learned after Chip died that I needed to let go. Furthermore, forgiveness would set me free and gratitude would allow me to keep all the deliciousness of what we shared.
My dad adopted me, which I felt as the promise of being daddy’s little girl and his cherished princess. Chosen. For reasons that died with him, he didn’t love me in that way. He did what he knew. The wounds left open from what I wanted that he couldn’t give needed to be felt and let go. And all that he taught me that helped me become the woman I am could be kept and appreciated.
“Though each relationship is unique, the healing process is finishing what’s left emotionally unfinished.”
Metabolizing grief is changing the way the relationship lives in you. In addition, this happens by identifying what’s left undone, resolving the conflicting emotions stuck there, processing and releasing them, and keeping all the love, cherished memories, learning, wisdom, and goodness that nourishes.
Moreover, this will be different in each relationship as some hold more pain and disappointment and others more joy and longing. Though each relationship is unique, how to heal grief is finishing what’s left emotionally unfinished.
Grief Recovery Method:
Here are some categories from the Grief Recovery Method* to help identify what’s left undone and process grief.
Apology: As an adult, the feelings attached to what you wish you would have done differently in the relationship. It is important to identify the feelings attached to your regret because this is where grief gets stuck.
Forgiveness: The feelings attached to what happened that you need to release so you can be free. This is not justifying anything that was done, nor making right anything that was wrong. This is processing and letting go of feelings stored in your body that are harming you.
Gratitude: The feelings attached to all that you are grateful for that you get to hold and cherish.
Metabolized To Heal:
In conclusion, each situation on how to heal grief holds feelings that need to be identified and metabolized to make that transition.
I love April though it is the anniversary of Misty, Chip, and dad’s passing. I miss, love, and celebrate each of their lives and who they are to me. Above all, there is freedom around my heart because the way each of them lives in me has been transformed and I am nourished and energized by their presence.
Overall, processing grief has allowed me to become more present in my life, sense of self, loved ones, community, and God. I am deeply thankful for all my grief experiences have taught me.
*The Grief Recovery Handbook, 20th Anniversary Expanded Edition: the Action Program for Moving Beyond Death, Divorce, and Other Losses Including Health, Career, and Faith by John W. James, Russell Friedman, et al.
About the Author:
Lisa Michelle Zega is a Life Coach for Midlife Women of faith who are starting over after the death of a spouse or a divorce and are struggling with sadness and self-doubt. She helps them metabolize grief to retain all the nutrients, learning and wisdom and release the waste, so they can begin again with joy and confidence.
She was married to a pastor, divorced after 23 years of marriage and her boys stopped talking to her for nearly 6 years. Zega later buried a fiancé 5 months before their wedding day. She now lives with her handsome biker hubby, adorable Jack Russel and creative stepson outside of Los Angeles and enjoys a renewed relationship with her grown sons.
She’s a devoted Minnesota Vikings fan, enjoys people, loves to hike, read, travel and embraces the fullness of life — the joy, sorrow and all the in between. You can find more about Lisa Michelle at Legityou.com or Lisamichelle.legityou on Instagram.