A letter to those who mourn
Grief and love go hand and hand. Many say there are five stages of grief and loss: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. However, there is no timeline to how long the grieving process may take for you. Some may reach the last stage in a few years, while others could take many years to reach acceptance of what they’ve experienced.
Grief is hard to conquer and even harder to understand. It is a painfully strong emotion that takes over the entire body. But grief has its roots in love. It’s easy to think that grief and love are worlds apart from each other, but in some ways they’re more similar than you might think. We all enjoy being loved; while grief hurts, love is welcomed and fills us with warmth. The death of a loved one brings the loss of that warmth in the way we are used to experiencing it. Their love for us becomes a memory rather than something we can experience in a tangible way. This creates an absence or void in our lives that can be bitter indeed.
So how can we say that grief and love are similar? Consider these words:
“Grief is the price we pay for love.” - Queen Elizabeth II
“What we have once enjoyed deeply we can never lose. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us.” - Helen Keller
“The risk of love is loss, and the price of loss is grief - But the pain of grief is only a shadow when compared with the pain of never risking love.” - Hilary Stanton Zunin
We do not grieve the loss of something we do not love. When someone you love dies, it can feel like the pain of losing them is all there is. You might feel like you want to crawl out of your own skin, or feel the sense of a hole that can never be filled. But the love you shared with your loved one doesn’t disappear because they are physically gone, it merely changes. It changes into memories of your life with them, into the way you share what they taught you with others, into the countless ways you remember them and include their memory in your life - on the special days and in the day-to-day.
Those we love deeply we will also grieve deeply, and we can take some comfort in this essential truth of the human experience.