• Kara Kihm

The Depths of Grief




The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of those depths.

Elisabeth Kubler-Ross


These days I’m getting an intimate look at grief- MY OWN...............


As a licensed grief and bereavement therapist, I’ve had a lot of experience with Loss, Grief, and Death. This is not unfamiliar territory. In fact, it’s a landscape that I understand more than most. I have even built a career helping people navigate loss and death as a grief therapist for hospice.


So when I brother died I felt prepared for what was to come. I knew the stages and how to move through them. After all this is my training. I returned to Asheville following his death and was shockingly surprised by how well I was doing. How was I working full time and managing my four year old while experiencing the intensity of my emotions related to grief? I actually surprised myself and had moments of pause......."Wow I’m an rocking this!"


During my 10 minute breaks between each client, I would melt into a formless puddle on the floor and then I would pull myself together after about 8 minutes dry my eyes and get myself together for the next client. My grief felt like a faucet that I could turn on and off. It was INTENSE but manageable.........And I seemed to be able to navigate life in the depths of my pain.


Then life returned to normal for everyone else and as is typical the calls, texts and support stopped. Of course! The immediate tragedy was over and life resumed for the world.


As someone shared, the heaviness of grief probably won’t hit until a few months down the road....AND...... She could not have been more right!


I had been in the infancy phase in my journey of grief, living off of adrenaline, in survival mode. Now, the denial and adrenaline have worn off and it's pretty messy and icky here in my heart.


My emotions range from serene peace to hysteria on any given day. I have moments where I have complete faith that every thing is exactly the way that it's meant to be and in other moments the oppressive energy of grief is suffocating. Today I’m having a hard time getting out of bed and getting dressed to face the day feels like climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. Working full time as a single mother with an energetic a four year old???!!! There's no way in HELL!!!! The faucet I had control over.... pppppfffffffff........ I couldn’t stop my tears if I were paid millions of dollars.


The woman who was rocking her grief seems to have disolved into the foggy misty night. My grief doesn’t care about my expertise! It doesn’t care about my studies and it doesn’t care about my knowledge! It’s seething in every cell of my body and has consumed me like a parasite. The grief expert has no wisdom for this journey. It's a journey without a script and it feels terrifying.


As David Kessler so equaloently states in his interview with Brene Brown "there is no spirtual bypassing for this process." And I'm learning that the only way out is through. I'm learning to respect the journey and allow myself to be exactly where I am without judgment. If this week, I can't get out of bed, I will honor the despression stage of my grief. I will honor the messiness of my journey!...... The ickiness of my journey!.......The confusion in my journey!......The feelings of complete and utter debilitation!.....The gut wrenching moments where reality sinks in and my heart wants to explode with anger and rage!......The unbearbale pain that keeps me awake all night!....The longing for one more day and one more conversation.....The longing for things to be different...


For now ....... All I have is one breath at a time.


If you are on a journey of grief, know that you are NOT ALONE! While our journey's will be different..... My HEART is WITH you and I STAND beside you. As you face Defeat, Struggle, Loss, and Suffering you are LOVED.


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