Niesia Garza, LCSW – Navarre Counselor

Welcome to Daniel's Harbor!

Mourning, Not ‘Wallowing’: A Path Through Love and Death

Next month will mark 15 years since the death of my son Daniel and this journey through grief is still one, I’m navigating, walking with, and still learning about myself. Each passing year I walk with my grief and take it second by second. However, this year due to its significance (Daniel would be graduating from high school and turning 18 in May) has made walking with my grief more challenging, to say the least. So, I would like today’s blog to be focused on “wallowing” and “stuck”. I hear these words too often in my personal and professional life dealing with grief. Many may think wow, it has been 15 years and she’s still grieving. Yes, I’m still grieving and will continue to grieve for the rest of my life. The terms “wallowing” and being “stuck” fail to capture our experience through grief. Instead, our journey through grief is an active, dynamic process where emotions ebb and flow, reflecting the deep love we hold for those we’ve lost.

To redefine “wallowing” and “stuck,” we must understand them not as states of inaction but as part of the natural, complex experience of grief. “Wallowing” implies a negative, stagnant state, yet for those grieving, every moment spent in remembrance, every tear shed, is a step through our journey. Being “stuck” suggests an inability to move forward, but in grief, standing still to honor and remember our child is a profound act of love and connection.

I would like to share these reminders, no matter where parents may find themselves on their grief journey:

Your Grief is Valid: Your emotions, whether sorrow, anger, or moments of happiness, are valid and important. They are expressions of love and loss, not signs of being stuck or wallowing.

Grief is Non-linear: Grief doesn’t follow a straight path; it winds, doubles back, and at times, pauses. Every phase, no matter its direction, forms a segment of your journey.

Permission to Feel: Permit yourself to feel all that comes with grief, knowing that it’s not a sign of weakness but of deep love.

Seeking Support: Connecting with others who understand whether through support groups or therapy, can provide solace and understanding.

Those who have not experienced this type of profound loss understand that bereaved parents are not “wallowing or stuck”; we are navigating a landscape forever altered by our loss. Offering a listening ear, a shoulder to lean on, or your presence can be invaluable.

In this journey, let us remember that grief is not a problem to be solved but a testament to love that endures beyond death.