We read about stages of grief and cycles of grief as though there were one pattern into which all of our experiences must fit. I think, instead of stages and cycles, we should think of grief as an onion. We peel back one layer as we are able to do so. Under that layer is another layer. Some layers are very sweet as they contain treasured memories. Other layers are sour as they contain regrets and unfinished expressions of love. We go deeper and deeper. And, like peeling an onion, exploring our grief often makes us cry. Still, we go deeper. Sometimes, we need the help of a counselor or a group to help us peel back the next layer. Some we can handle on our own. Still we go deeper, peeling back the next layer and the next to finally reach the core. That core is healing. We find, at the core of our grief onion, who we really are and how we can live again. Peeling back layers can be very painful but so worthwhile. Peace!