By Karen Nicola

Have you ever asked the question, “How important are tires?” Or “How important is clean air?” Or “How important is love?” Probably not. And why have we not asked those questions? It’s obvious: these things are all unquestionably important!

Someone recently asked me “How important is grief?” As I thought about it, I realized that most people wouldn’t ask that question. Many people live out their response that grief is no big deal. Just keep going. It will go away in time. They might even permit a period of mourning, but then they’d use a great amount of energy to push sorrow and pain far from the demands of their daily lives. Some mask their pain with substances or activity and a cycle of addiction can then develop.

Well, I’m glad someone asked me. As a grief educator, I know that healthy, healing grief is critically important. It makes all the difference in how we will live the rest of our lives.

Did you notice I added “healthy” and “healing” as a description of grief? The other option is unhealthy, unhealed grief. The consequences of the second type of grief negatively affects us until we make a choice to engage with our grief and come to terms of acceptance that is healing and mentally healthy.

A few years back, a client came to my office to explore a better way of grief than what she had been choosing. She was the mother of two young children. Her husband/their father was killed instantly in a car accident. She spent the first four years using alcohol to numb her pain and nearly shutting out her children from her care. Finally, she “woke up,” realizing she could lose so much more if she didn’t do something. She became sober, joined a therapy group that taught her the power of her choices, and started work with me. It didn’t take long until she embraced the importance of her grief work and made significant progress towards regaining health and healing for her broken heart.

Grief is so important that the future of our lives will reflect on taking our grief seriously or not. The choice is yours. Just know that to take no action is to make a choice as well. I hope you make the best choices to seek healthy, healing grief. It will make all the difference for the rest of your life.

For more information about healthy, healing grief visit

—Karen Nicola is grief educator and coach. Together with her husband, Steve, they authored Comfort For the Day: Living Through the Seasons of Grief, and presented a seminar at recent RMC Pastors Retreat at GVR© Karen Nicola, 2023.