This post was supposed to be about setting goals, but on Sunday, June 2 we got a call that a close family member had passed away ~ peacefully in her sleep. I haven’t lost someone who was a part of my normal life, so my brain and heart have been trying to comprehend and catch up to what’s happened. What this means going forward? How can I help those who were closer to her and will notice the absence even more…
It seems to me that we are afraid of emotions, at least being on display. I wish I would’ve stopped and prayed with the boys (four grandchildren and two cousins) on that warm, sunny afternoon… given some reverence to what was happening as we sat together through the surreal moments of knowing that someone we love was now gone from the world.
But I censored it.
Maybe because it was too hard to talk… but that was about me.
What did they need? I think that’s a hard question about grief. Everyone says, “Let me know what you need?”
How about an immortality potion? Or a little notice, but not the kind that’s filled with sickness; the kind where you get to say goodbye and hear their voice or their laugh one more time. Where you can ask how they’re feeling and what they want from you going forward when they’re gone.
How come it’s not ok to talk about this beforehand? Why is it so taboo?
Ironically, if you look at any facebook post about loss, they’re often one of the most commented on… so many messages of love and support ~ because death is universal. We all know we’re going to feel it at some point, so there’s a communal recognition of the hurt.
BUT, in our every day lives, we do everything we can to avoid the pain of grief before we need to.
Why are we taught algebra and grammar rules, but not about what to do on a sunny afternoon when the world all of a sudden becomes different?
When there’s loss?
I’m not saying that schools should have a curriculum in emotions. But what if in our every day lives we were somehow taught to say “I love you” to people (strangers, acquaintances?) more easily? Taught to acknowledge our common humanity in love and not in loss.
“Grief is another form of love.”
When I think about it like this, I realize why grief is so overwhelming ~ why it bubbles up, comes in waves, is triggered by a song or a picture (or in my case a sparkly wallet gifted by the special woman we lost) ~ it is because such a powerful EMOTION.
The measure of our individual grief is inextricably tied to the measure of love we have for that person.
Grief is both sadness and joy, a longing unquenched. It’s a realization that the connection exists now only in memories. This is sad, and it made me feel sunk and heavy.
The yang to that is that grief is also an expression of our joy in that person ~ our LOVE. To get to see it as pure love is somehow more calming. It fills me with peace.
My wish is that we were freer to express grief (and thus, love) publically as we experience it without making people so uncomfortable. Aren’t we all in some ways in the midst of grieving or mourning something or someone?
What if we decided to live in a way where we could easily show and tell each other, very simply ~ “I see your love. I honor it.”
I always thought grief
That it came from
But now I know
I feel it freely
without tampering it down.
Giving honor to the
I grieve you.
Letting it be the
powerful emotion it is,
warming the heart
like sweet, summer sun rays.
I grieve you.
And I always will.
TLDR: “Grief is another form of love.” What if we were taught to acknowledge our common humanity in love and not in loss? The measure of our individual grief is inextricably tied to the measure of love we have for that person.
References: The OptionB website is a wonderful resource for those experiencing pain and hardship in many forms. I read several stories and articles before I wrote this post and poem. I’d like to give mention to this one that inspired the idea that grief is another form of love. https://optionb.org/stories/end-of-life-in-no-way-translates-to-end-of-relationship-syw1fdjk