To love, and to lose what we love, are equally things appointed for our nature. –C.S. Lewis
Some things are, at heart, close to the essence of being human, of experiencing life. To live and to love and, at times, to lose are such experiences. Grief is an almost unavoidable side effect of love and loving.
Grief is the last act of love we can give to those we loved. Where there is deep grief, there was great love. — Anonymous
We may hope it comes later rather than sooner, that we have longer with someone and less time without them, that it comes at the end of a long life and not in the midst (or even the beginning) of a brief one. But we are almost certain to be touched by it. Even if you believe you will see the person you love again, grief in loss can find you and even strong faith can falter.
“When we lose someone we love we must learn not to live without them, but to live with the love they left behind.” –Unknown
It comes in a million forms and from a million places. It can hit us like a tidal wave or follow us like a shadow. It is one of the hardest experiences many of us will ever have and it frequently seems to defy understanding and resist all attempts at remedy. We can feel too much and too little, feel guilty or numb, hollow or on fire, drowning or buried. We can’t understand it, not fully. We can’t remove the burden from ourselves or another and we can’t rush its path. Perhaps grief is no more open to reason than love itself.
“We need to grieve the ones we’ve lost — not to sustain our connection to suffering, but to sustain our connection to love.” – Jennifer Williamson
There is no cure for grief and, because it is caused by love, perhaps there shouldn’t be. Perhaps you can’t tear grief out by the roots because its roots are the love in your heart for the person you’ve lost. So we are left with time. Time that makes the grief less painful and the love stronger. That lets the happiness and memories be felt more and the loss less. Time that brings us forward and allows loss to recede.
Dr. Moody experienced the loss of a child in his own life and spoke about it in a presentation where he said:
“Let me give you an illustration. For example, if you look at this drawing here and let this circle be my entire conscious being, all of myself, my whole consciousness and awareness. Then what happened at that point was it was like it became an eclipse and it’s like all of this part of it just filled up with this darkness.
This happened in June of 1970. Now if you asked me in 2013 what that grief is like, I can tell you it’s still exactly the same. But now the difference between this and how I am in 2013 is that this is me. This entire big circle now is me. My inner self is expanded partly because of this grief. I’m not the same person now that I would have been if I had not had this grief in my life. But the grief is still identically the same. It’s just that I’ve grown up larger around it. And it’s occupying a lesser percentage of my full conscious awareness and being but it’s still the same in itself. I can go right back to it and feel those feelings. But now I am larger so that it’s a lesser percentage of my total self.”
That, to me, is a lovely summary of grief. That it doesn’t go away so much as becomes a smaller part of the whole. And to me at least all the parts of love that caused the grief grow larger in proportion, like a statue removed from a garden and the spot still stands empty, but the flowers that grew around it now grow where it stood and make something beautiful, even in its absence.
“Grief is not a disorder, a disease, or a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity; the price you pay for love. The only cure for grief is to grieve.” – Dr. Earl A. Grollman
Dr. Moody offers a talk about grief that can be found HERE.
If you are grieving, here are some websites that can offer help and connection:
Refuge in Grief. One woman’s loss led her to share and provide comfort for others.
Grief Anonymous. Online support group. Over 30,000 members, 24/7 support. Similar to an AA or Emotions Anonymous for those grieving.
Grief in Common. Online chats and in persons meeting to facilitate connection with other mourners.
Online Grief Support. Don’t grieve alone. Groups, blogs and forums.
Hope Again. Aimed at younger people and helping them deal with loss and grief.