I’ve been thinking a lot about grief lately. My best friend lost her sister recently and as I walk with her through her grief, I remember my own. Having lost both parents, two brothers, several friends, and numerous beloved pets, I have had my share of painful losses.
Here is what I’ve learned about grief:
- When “Grief comes knocking”, it’s not a monster to be kept out at all costs. It doesn’t help to stuff down the pain in an attempt to “be strong”, and it doesn’t help to run away from our memories because they hurt so much.
- Grief is also not a monster to be let into our lives to take over and destroy everything! We don’t have to be entirely defined by our loss or the pain we feel. We can still show kindness to ourselves and others.
- Grief is like an uninvited guest we need to make room for in our lives. When I had a sudden memory of a loved one and the grief felt like a punch to the stomach, I allowed myself to STOP, reel a little, acknowledge the pain, then continue with what I was doing.
I’ve heard someone say, “Grief is the price you pay for love.” We don’t grieve for someone we didn’t care about; grief is the evidence of our love and Great Grief comes from Great Love. But there’s hope! My experience has shown me that while we never heal from our loss, over time the grief-waves come less often; it becomes possible to have warm memories of our loved ones without the searing pain of grief. The LOSS may be permanent but, thankfully, the PAIN eases with time.