Grief – A Reminder of the Depth of Our Love
Grief is not something we sign up for. It is our experience and reaction from the loss of someone we love. Grief is raw. Grief takes us to the depths of our soul as we wrestle with the emptiness of not having our loved one with us. Loss brings deep pain when we have deep love for someone. Grief helps us find a way to move through the pain so we can move forward.
It has been said that grief is a reminder of the depth of our love (Abrams, 2016). It is true in the sense that when we love someone and we experience the loss of that person, grief is a natural process. It is raw and painful. And for those of us paying witness to someone experiencing grief, it is often beyond anything we can even allow ourselves to imagine for fear it might be us next. If we are living and connecting with others, we will have times of loss and grief. It is inevitable. Allowing ourselves the grieving process (as if we can control it) is healthy and necessary. So perhaps being accepting of the grief will allow us the fortitude to make our way through the journey.
Because of love, we have grief. Grief is the first experience after the loss. Part of the work of finding footing into the next part of life (life without our loved one) is finding a way to live as we come out of the depths of despair and pain. Through the journey of grief comes the process of finding a new normal, a new normal of finding our footing of living without our loved one. This means finding a place where our daily routines have to be reworked and rewired. It is uncomfortable and painful. We can make our way through it even though it may feel as if we will never find a way.
Allowing the grief to be less raw is also a step in the process. Grief is big after loss and it fills the space. However, it doesn’t have to remain our only touchstone to our loved one. When we lose someone, our grief fills in our world with loss. It is to be expected and a very natural response. As we work our way through that rawness, it is also necessary to give ourselves permission to make our touchstone with our loved one more than the pain of the loss. That means, just as we touch our loved ones through our pain and tears, we can also touch our loved one through the smiles of the day, the sun shining, the moment of joy that happens unexpectedly. We can give ourselves permission to move into a place where smiling doesn’t mean we have forgotten our loved one. It doesn’t mean that our pain is gone. It just means we had a moment of smiling. Perhaps it means we felt our loved one’s smile, or presence or joy. Making the touchstone to your loved one be more than pain and grief allows you the open expansion to find your way in the world in a new way.
To lose loved ones is not easy. Grief is necessary and a natural part of being close to someone and loving them. It is also important to realize, when it is time,that we can access the spirit and presence of our loved one in ways other than that initial experience of grief. If we don’t allow that expansion, then we become hardwired to connecting only through the pain. It seems that our work is to find our way through the raw pain and access new ways to connect, remember and be in the world without our loved one. The presence and life of our loved one brought joy and our work may be to find joy in the world which is another touchstone to connecting with the loved one.
This means finding a way to smile again, accept moments of relief from the pain and allow joy to seep in – all ways of connecting with your loved one. Grief is a reminder of the depth of love we have for another. Joy and living life is also a reminder of the depth of love we have for another. We want to be able to move from the pain as a reminder of our loved one to also including the joy as a reminder.
Abrams, D. (2016). The book of joy. New York: Penguin Random House, LLC.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Janie Pfeifer Watson
Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker
Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner
- Janie Pfeifer Watson, LICSW, is the founder and director of Wholeness Healing Center, a mental health practice in Grand Island, Nebraska with remote sites in Broken Bow and Kearney. Her expertise encompasses a broad range of areas, including depression, anxiety, attachment and bonding, coaching, couples work, mindfulness, trauma, and grief. She views therapy as an opportunity to learn more about yourself as you step more into being your authentic self. From her perspective this is part of the spiritual journey; on this journey, she serves as a mirror for her clients as they get to know themselves—and, ultimately, to love themselves.
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