Southeast WI Archive
  • Southeast Wisconsin
  • April 2015
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Important tools used in healing my grief

Continuing from the last issue, I mentioned that I would share the grief tools that were essential in healing my grief. They are too numerous to list here, so I will give you those that were most important.


I believe that this tool is crucial to healing grief. For me, it provided an outlet to express my feelings and emotions safely while recording important life events. Journaling gave me a perspective on what I gained or lost since the grief event. That was what I needed. I came to realize that the situation that caused the grief was an event, just like any other life event. Journaling kept my life in perspective from the grief event and showed my growth, setbacks and stagnation/regression. Then I used that information to progress in my healing. For me, it was and will be an invaluable tool in my grief toolbox.

Accepting the grief

Until I accepted the event causing the grief, I could not progress in my healing. If I chose to deny the grief, I remained stuck in the event. Once I accepted the event that caused the grief, I began my healing.

Support network

My wife Carolyn’s death from breast cancer showed me the importance of a support network. During the first year that followed her death, some people stayed, others departed and new ones entered. The latter category showed me how critical it was for me to acquire new people in my life to fill her void and grow. I’m not sure where I would be today had I not reached out to others. After my dad’s death, I entered a recovery program that helped me to heal dysfunctional behaviors and create new friendships, many that still exist today. I am grateful for that.

Expressing my feelings and emotions

In my early years as a man, I knew anger as the only emotion to express grief. However, sadness and crying came forth with Carolyn’s death. I found that it was OK to be a man and cry from grief. It helped my healing, as did expressing other feelings/emotions. I grew from expressing them and came in touch with my heart. I also became aware of having a safe place to grieve. There was no fear of judgment or ridicule as there was when I was growing up.

Face the fear

Each grief event forced me to face my fears. The big fear was discovering my true self. With familiarity gone, I had to look in the mirror and take inventory of my present situation. Do I stay in fear? How is that serving me? Finding that fear was “false evidence appearing real” (F.E.A.R.), I moved through any fear the grief caused. The grief events became stepping stones to bring me to who I am today.

Forgiveness and emotional closure

When I wrote my book, I hadn’t realized until the second edit that forgiveness was the underlying theme. There I found the key to healing grief. Forgiveness of self and others gave me a gift: emotional closure. I cannot rid myself of all that happened to cause the grief. However, I can close the pain, hurt and sorrow. I also retained the pleasant memories of the person, job, etc. that was lost.

My spirituality

Perhaps the greatest growth for me came spiritually. Here I discovered new personal traits coupled with strengthening my faith in God. I grew closer to knowing my purpose in life and how to fulfill it. I have developed new and deeper friendships. While traumatic grief brought me to my knees at times, I developed resilience, fortitude, compassion and inner strength to assess where I am and what needed correction. This was a change for the better.

For you

These grief tools are for you to use too. Consider adding them to your toolbox and develop new ones that will assist your healing of grief. Be open and receptive to how you receive them. They are gifts from God/the universe. Embrace them.

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Robert Matuszak

Robert is the owner of Orion Consulting LLC, a consulting and coaching firm that provides grief and stress relief programs to businesses, groups and adults. He is a certified Heartbreak to Happiness coach with over 20 years coaching and consulting experience. He is a speaker and the author of the soon to be published book: “The Man’s Grief Toolbox, A Journey from Grief to Peace.” He can be reached at 262-787-1969 or by email at [email protected], or visit his website at “I bring relief to your grief.”

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