I think an essential part of the grieving process is what I've heard called "liminal space," or a time between things.

If you've had significant loss in your life, you know that there is a time period when you are beyond the

intense period of crying, but the missing still aches inside you. It's as if your head says to your body,

"Okay, this person is gone. He/she is not coming back. You have honored

them, grieved for them, allowed them the freedom to 'go,'...now it's time

for you to move on." 
So, your head and logic know that it is time to figure

out what is next and how to take that next step, and yet part of you doesn't

want to. You are in a state of liminal space. 
I can tell you right now, I

think it is an absolutely okay thing to be in that place. It's a time that

can lead to hope.


I can also tell you, based on my own loss of my brother to suicide, that it

is a place you can and will move on from when it is time. 
What does that

mean? Well, I think that pieces of our heart or soul need time to process

how the loss of the one we loved has changed our lives and how we feel

without them here. We need time to just 'be.' 
Two examples:1.A death involving cancer. You may have taken care of someone with cancer and

you have known that death was coming for a period of time. You

have had the time to say your goodbyes. The process has been draining and the

grief has been drawn out. There may have been periods of hope and dreams of

recovery until in the end, the cancer won. 
Liminal space may mean a time of relief that the pain, the not knowing, the battle is over, even though it

was lost. It may mean feeling a sense of freedom from all of the anguish and

caretaking. Then one day you wake up and floods of tears or anger or some

strong emotion takes over you and you know you need to take a look at what

it is that will help you. And where you go next. 


A death that happened quickly (a car accident, heart attack, etc.). When

someone dies suddenly, shock takes over and in many ways puts a shield

around the grieving person's heart. It's protection from the intense wave of loss

that came so suddenly. It's like being blindsided and not knowing how to get

any balance back without that person in the world anymore. It's wanting to

tell the person things you forgot to say and/or reliving things you didn't

In the beginning, liminal space may mean times of denial, or just

moving on as a shadow of your former self, just trying to survive. One day,

you break down or shut down and you realize, you need help or you need to do

something more to heal yourself.


In any case, or at any stage of grief, allowing yourself to be where you

are and trying hard not to judge it can be

instrumental in allowing yourself to think more with your own heart. 
I believe the heart or soul can really lead us to what is next in our journey

of loss WHEN we allow it to speak to us. I believe it can lead

us to a place of hope. 
And hope can be a really nice place to sit for a

while. We don't have to think we are happy or even feel good, but if we can

get to hope, we can begin to see that our heart can open more to loving

ourselves, and even allowing others to love us deeper while we grieve.


Hope can be the key to knowing that we can make it through the next day. And

maybe the next. And that maybe the next day, we can smile or laugh or just

enjoy something like a flower or the sunshine. And maybe we can find the one

we loved and lost in those things, in that hope. Maybe we can allow them to

be there with us and to speak to us from where they are and to comfort us in

whatever way that manifests.


May some form of hope show itself today no matter how much you are hurting.

Art & Allison Daily

Art and Allison Daily are the authors of Out of the Canyon: A True Story of Loss and Love. Art is an attorney for Holland and Hart in Aspen, Colo. Allison is the Bereavement Counselor at Aspen Valley Hospital and the co-director of Pathfinder Angels, a non-profit that helps cancer patients and others in need. Out of the Canyon was in USA Today's Summer Book List of 2009, and Art and Allison have written for Living With Loss Publication as well as beliefnet blog and Intent.com.

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