"No one can suffer loss unless it be his own decision."
"The miracle is proof he is not bound by loss or suffering in any form, because it can so easily be changed."
"I am in the likeness of my Creator. I cannot suffer I cannot experience loss and I cannot die. I am not a body. Love created me like Itself."
Grief from a loss can be very, very difficult to deal with. I've personally had to go through a ton of it. 18 years ago I left my home country of England and immigrated to the USA.
This entailed a significant sense of loss in ways I never imagined and was just horrendous to go through producing massive amounts of tears over a span of several years. Some of the losses included:
Loss of family - not being around them or able to be around them, even on holidays. Not being able to travel easily to see them. Not a single member of my family was at our wedding or any other event. Although no-one literally died, it was as though they all had. Actually just even writing that just now has brought me to tears again.
Loss of culture - not being immersed in the culture and not even realizing it was a culture. Being surrounded by a completely alien environment where no-one even speaks your language or sounds like you, where there are no recognizable holidays or shared events, with no familiar social cues, no familiar traditions, sense of dress code, or anything. Top this off by being surrounded by an entire country that celebrates things you have no familiarity with or sense of identification with, and it adds up to even more alienation.
Loss of familiar forms - an entirely different set of foods, brands, products, money, buildings that are completely different in design, traffic laws totally flipped around, extremely different weather, totally different tv shows, clothing, standards, a different style of working, all new holidays, etc. Not to mention the loss of a sense of "home" or belonging or fitting in or being part of anything.
Loss of identity - I assumed that so much of what made me "me" was inherent to me. It was not. It was inherent to the country and culture. Once I was outside of it it brought into question who I even am, what is truly "mine" and what was just something I inherited or assumed as part of "normality". My whole sense of self was shaken to the core and transformed. I grieved even for who I used to be.
Each year various thing would trigger me off. Especially holidays, birthdays, christmas, and even American holidays which were celebrated en masse but which I could not relate to, making me feel deeply left out in a whole other way. Christmas was a nightmare. The first sign of decorations or snow or holiday jingles would immediately trigger 2 months of hell. Sometimes I felt powerfully compelled to just run away and get the hell out of here.
What I had to learn, was about what this grief is, what is causing it, and what I can do about it. Besides hundreds of boxes of tissues, accompanying the massive purge of "losses" that I perceived, I tried various things. One thing which did immediately help was EFT (emotional freedom technique) - a form of acupressure, which alleviates emotional pain. It takes the edge off and offers some relief. But I wanted to truly heal this suffering.
What I've learned about grief is that is stems entirely from ego beliefs. Just as the course say, "No one can suffer loss unless it be his own decision." Meaning, unless I am doing something to myself, there can be no basis for grief.
Every single sense of grief or loss comes from a perceived "real separation" occurring. Something which seemed real, which is now inaccessible, unavailable, distant, kept apart, or more permanently removed. This can be a loss of a person's life or a country or a pet or a culture or a favorite job or a tv show or whatever.
The ego first values these things by making them special, making them real, attaching to them, identifying with them, and believing they are important. Then, when one of these things is "lost" or separated from us, we literally are experiencing this idea that we're separated from reality, from what we "love", from what we think is valuable or important. This produces a rift within our mind, a split, and it can be very deep.
This sense of "real separation happening" is absolutely nothing short of a reflection or fragment of the idea of being separated from God. Every "loss" is the idea that God has been lost. That love has gone away. This produces horrendous feelings of lack, emptiness, depression, sadness, loss, loneliness, hurt, anger, fear, guilt, shame, you name it.
Additionally, in the ego thought system there is an idea of sacrifice. Sacrifice means that you first of all make something real or valuable or special, and then you believe that in order to atone you have to forceably be deprived of it, even while you still value it, which *guarantees* that you will suffer a sense of having lost something important to you. It is the idea that if you lose i.e. sacrifice something, you will gain something. The ego is totally nuts.
Even giving something to someone else through the ego and perceiving it as you being diminished or lacking or losing in some way, is the exact same dynamic which all grief is based on. And your reaction to it will be varying degrees of a sense of loss. It may not be a deep deep grief when you begrudgingly give up something you liked, but it's still the same dynamic.
I've found over time that all of my grief stems from my false perception. i.e., it ENTIRELY erupts out of the perception that a "real separation" has occurred. There is no other cause of it. It is not really about "oh I miss that person" or "oh I lost that job I loved" or "oh I don't have my family any more". These are mere forms of the same basic content of separation. It is the sense of having lost something you are attached to or which is special to you, i.e. fake reality, that produces the ego responses of grief.
I have also found, that even if I am deep in feelings of grief and it becomes possible to reclaim or get back or visit people or things which were "lost", this still does not in any way fix the grief. It is my own perception of real separation which causes the upset and until that is undone, as a false belief, I can still be in the presence of the very people or things I lost and still feel a loss. All loss is an inside job.
The grieving is actually taking place INSIDE my mind, between one part of myself that I made special and another part which has lost it. I've seen that my grieving is entirely selfish and about myself, and never really about anything outside of me. This has also taught me that e.g. returning home or going back to family will NOT resolve the problem of grieving, and through my own experience it never has. For the ego it's a fake promise of salvation.
I've also found therefore that any grief that I am having is entirely due to my own beliefs, my own choices, my own perceptions, my own attitude, and what I choose to perceive. If I choose to believe death is real, I WILL automatically be very upset when someone dies. If I choose to make someone special or attach to them or "need" them, I will AUTOMATICALLY grieve whether I like it or not when they are taken away. I set myself up for loss every time that I try to take possession of something or depend on it too heavily or make it special or considering it more exclusively valuable or conditional. And so, I literally do this to myself.
Every ego attempt to make something special, to "have it" or value it or attach to it or believe in it (ego beliefs) or possess it or need it, will AUTOMATICALLY bring with it the conditions for its INEVITABLE LOSS. It is a total trap. You literally are signing up for LOSS, when you sign up for "getting".
The truth is, no-one needs to grieve, no-one is supposed to be experiencing loss, no-one is supposed to be crying or unhappy, no-one is supposed to spend 50 years getting over the loss of a parent or child, no-one is supposed to be SUFFERING like this. Without using ACIM whatsoever, and just fudging our way through this stuff, we will take however long it takes to cry and cathartic and remember and try to keep them alive etc...ie reluctantly letting go. Without any other tools, most people spend years dealign with deep losses.
And then there is another camp of people who are so level-confused that they'll try to force you to just "get over it" or repress it or censor it or not feel any feelings or never cry or bypass it with ACIM pleasantries like "it never happened" etc. For most people, they HAVE to go through a "grieving process" because its the only way they have to heal the ACTUAL problem, which is a sense of separation from God. And that is the ONLY problem, even in the case of grief, and even in the case of death.
If a person is having such a deep emotional pain, there is nothing helpful in repressing it or trying to ignore it or not letting it out or trying not to cry or to shove it down in some way to pretend it's not there. Feelings, once they are created, MUST be felt and allowed to flow. And usually the sense of loss is so deep that it simply generates a ton of feelings. They must be felt, not turned into emotional constipation. But that said.... tentatively.... there must be a better way, and there is.
Tackling the real issue, which is a sense of "real separation" or "real loss" or "real sacrifice" or "real absence", which is a BELIEF in your mind that has nothing to do with the world or other people, there is much more HOPE for a swifter recovery. What a person has "suffered" in a "loss" is really that they are suffering from a false perception of reality (God) being lost permanently, as though completely real. It is very, very convincing to the ego, and it produces just horrendous depths of unhappiness.
But this separation, this loss, it can be healed. And it can be SIGNIFICANTLY undone if not entirely, through applications of ACIM principles. i.e. forgiveness, seeing the truth, unearthing the lies about "justified grief" or "everyone grieves" or "loss is normal after death" or whatever else... stuff that well-meaning psychiatrists have made up to explain why most ego-driven people suffer. Jesus has a different message: "You need not suffer."
It is ONLY a perception of real separation that produces grief or loss, ever. There is no other cause. And perception CAN be healed because beliefs CAN be changed. It is NOT necessary to have terrible grief. It is NOT necessary to have a deep, bottomless pit of misery for years and years. It is NOT necessary to feel like you lost part of yourself forever and ever. It is NOT necessary to feel hurt and angry and abandoned and upset for the rest of your life. There is nothing that cannot be healed.
For me now, every single year my "christmas grief" has dwindled at a rapid rate, since doing the course. This years was the least upset I've ever been. Triggers have been collapsed. Ideas of real loss undone. A sense of major separation significantly reduced. Tears have dwindled. It's not simply been through years of suffering and tears or "normal grieving process". It's because I apply forgiveness principles to what I am experiencing. In the middle of a moment of grief, if I can even remember that "I am not separate from God", and that this grief is about that... it immediately cuts through it like a knife.
Grieving can be a very long term process for many people, me included, but it does not HAVE to be. There is no requirement in God's Creation that anyone be upset for any reason. There is no justification for unhappiness. There is no rational for why it's "normal" to be seriously upset about anything. The Course is offering us the END of all death, all suffering, all sickness, and all grieving. To restore us to life, to happiness, to joy, to freedom, to liberation from all sad feelings and all sense of God being dead.
You need not suffer. What can you possibly grieve for but the belief in separation from God, which is not real? There has been no loss. Separation has not happened. God is alive and well and loves you. What's to be grieving about in truth?