Mindfulness & Grief

by Harlee Abromson, LCSW, Director

Most of us have known grief in either our own loss or in caring for another. As a therapist, I've supported clients through profound pain. I've been a friend to friends in need of validation during life’s heartbreaks. And I’ve endured my own personal loss.


indfulness, as a state of wellbeing, can help us journey through negativity to other perceptions, without forgetting the loved one. Healing does not remove loss but does help us move past a sense of rawness and darkness – in essence, returning us to the light without forgetting the deep connection with the loved one.

Here are some understandings that can help:

The first step in mindfulness is choosing to not deny. Grief hurts to the depth of our core, and then some. By creating a caring acceptance for crying, telling stories, even anger, we can integrate our experiences into the complex layers of our lives.

Choosing a period of centering can help facilitate the process. Some augment this soothing space with peaceful sounds, lavender or chamomile essential oils, a memory candle, dim lights. When sitting comfortably, feet grounded, hands gently placed in your lap, inhale deeply, holding your breath for a few seconds, then exhale slowly through your mouth.

Repeat this 3-4 times. Try tensing different muscle groups when inhaling, holding the tension when you hold your breath, then releasing the tension when exhaling. Simply continue this for a few minutes, being aware. In a little while you may be able to sense your relaxation and send this peace to areas of discomfort in your body.

A mantra including the loved one can also bring comfort by helping us return to the fullness of life.

“May the memory of (the beloved) be a blessing.”

You are blessed to have known a love with a bond that is rich and lasting. Through this amazing connection, life is deep with meaning and purpose. Loving deeply is living well.

Time to time take stock, giving yourself permission to feel whatever emerges without judgment. You may smile and laugh at a memory that visits. For some, this may develop into a fertile time to talk to a friend or to write a letter expressing an apology or gratitude to the loved one. It is truly amazing to see what transfers from deep inside of you to the outside in a period of mindfulness.

Within you lies an untapped world. When you feel that you have acknowledged enough, return to your day, knowing that healing is taking place and that you can center again whenever needed.

Mindfulness can be a caring process of continued support. I've now lived long enough to have experienced many sides of grief. If you're grieving, take the time, a little each day, to allow yourself a kind space where you can be aware, where you can acknowledge without judgment, where you can center. If you are the comforter, give permission and validation. The pain of grief is real, knows no boundaries, and puts down roots in the soul. But with loving kindness and the cultivation of mindfulness grief can transform into another experience that lets in the light, purpose and zest for life again, without losing the eternal love bonds that will bless us forever in our hearts.

She was no longer wrestling with
the grief, but could sit down with it
as a lasting companion and make it a
sharer in her thoughts.
- George Elliot

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