Life Lesson #3: My Badge of Honor

Heart BadgeIt’s time to share our grief. Grief can be a full range of emotions that come in waves over an extended period of time. Grieving is a natural process and is very normal. You may feel as if you are living life in slow motion or walking in a fog. You may not be able to concentrate, think clearly, become forgetful or misplace things. You’re not going crazy. Your feelings may be spinning out of control. You may be emotionally numb, or have random bouts of crying, feelings of sadness, anger, loneliness, even feeling of abandoned are normal. Everyone grieves differently and in their own time, so remember that this is your grief and no one else can tell you how, what or when you should deal with it.

I have tried to ignore and hide my feelings of grief; all this did was prolong my pain and my grieving process. Hiding my feelings and existing in my day-to- day life was taking a toll on me and the people around me. I was tired and sad and just going through the motions. Then I read a statement that changed everything… “Are you existing or living?” I was just existing and not living. You may wonder the difference between them? Existing is going through the day without experiencing joy; living is looking for the joy in our lives and experiencing what it brings. I chose to live; I began to allow small bits of joy back into my life. I now encourage people to embrace their grief, honor it and respect it. It is yours and yours alone. No one can take if from you. I encouraged people to talk about their grief and to share their stories, to say their loved ones name out loud. I talk about grief as being a badge of honor – a badge that is earned by loving and being loved by the person who has died. I received my badge of honor December 2006 when my husband died.  So be kind to yourself, allow yourself time to heal, share stories and memories. Know that you are loved as you wear your badge of honor.

May you find peace and comfort!


About Dawn Rehrauer

Dawn is a Bereavement Counselor, and co-founder of Grief Relief, at Agnesian HealthCare. She has been working in this area for five years. She is passionate about helping those that have lost a significant person in their lives through their grieving process. Dawn can be reached by emailing

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