Our culture gives so little permission to grieve.  Except in the confines of a visitation or funeral, most of us feel little permission to express our grief in public places or with people other than our closest friends.  Yet the feelings that accompany significant loss come when they come, often during “inconvenient” times.  The university students with whom I worked talked often of having to stifle their feelings and hold back the their tears throughout the day until they finally got some alone time at night.

In the Grief Group each semester, students received a “Permission to Grieve” certificate.  The original intent was to help group member take seriously their own thoughts and feelings that come with grief.  However, many group members carried the certificates with them and occasionally used them at times when they felt emotional or when they needed to talk but had difficulty doing so with friends.  Many jokingly and seriously commented how helpful it was to have “written permission” to feel the way they felt and to express what was going on inside them.

I borrowed this idea from a Grief Workshop I attended but don’t know to whom I need to give credit.  I’ve adapted it for my use.  Feel free to download and print or adapt this permission slip for your own use.

Permission to Grieve