Grief healing for people is much like the way trees respond after deadly storms. This year in the weeks that followed the heavy, wet snows of late winter there would be sunny days. The sun melted away the snow and ice layers from tree limbs burdened by the massive weight. These limbs had bowed – sometimes to the ground- under the pressure. Others had snapped high above, and remained entangled in the jumble of the canopy. These dangled, threatening to fall, but not yet quite free. Still others had broken leaving gaping wounds of light-colored wood where the branches had once been attached to the trunk. Some of these broken limbs, themselves massive, had gotten stuck in the understory. They, too dangled mere feet from where they had been attached. A few will need help to completely detach. A chainsaw will likely do the trick. There are no chainsaws for people to deal with personal losses of great magnitude. But trees can teach us about the mysterious ways of healing.

The Circle Of Life in The Forest

The snarl of damage at the base of trees provides a gift for other forrest creatures. Near the trunks is often the chaos of broken limbs. A sacrifice, of sorts, free from the snarl of what had happened. This jumble of tree parts were ready to provide shelter and food for animals in need. Such is the circle of life.

Grief Healing For families Is Like Trees Healing From Storms

The aftermath of a stressful event for families often mimics what happens to the flora and fauna in nature. Members of a family are like the limbs of a tree – under stress, they too can collapse. Some will bow to the pressure, only to spring back with the same resiliency as the limb whose snow burden has been warmed by the sun. Others will snap – yet stay in place – unable to detach themselves from the swirl of emotions that come with change. Still others will manage to free themselves and will move forward quickly without giving their emotions time to take hold. And there are those who will require the guidance of others to move on. We heal at our own pace and in our own ways – no one way is better than another. It’s just our way.


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Elizabeth Viszt
Elizabeth is a certified Educational Specialist and Success Coach. She has a BA, MS in biology with a concentration in ethology (animal behavior), is an EAGALA Equine Specialist in equine assisted learning and personal development, and has extensive personal leadership skills. She spent much of her career in education at the high school, college and correctional facility levels teaching biology & chemistry and acting in the capacity of a success coach. Elizabeth presents workshops and seminars which address communication issues as they manifest in personal relationships. She uses writing as both a creative and cathartic outlet, especially after losing both of her parents to cancer in 2015. She lives in upstate NY, on a farm that bears the name of her motto: Be Unreasonable! She's invested in empowering others in moving their pieces forward in the world.

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