Updated: Dec 15, 2020
There is no greater way to honor those we are losing or have lost than to ensure the love will never die.
We grieve because we love. Though grief is a natural process, there is nothing that feels natural about the the journey of grief.
The concept of grief in itself is overwhelming. Grief is complicated. There is not much more in life that can bring greater sorrow or emotional pain than loss.
“The close relationships we develop with special people in our lives are at the heart of what we care about most deeply and bereavement brings our most profound experiences of pain” (Shear, 2016). Though pain is universal, each of us experience the pain of grief uniquely.
There is no wrong way to grieve.
“Loss brings uninvited pain into our lives” (Wolfelt, 2016). “In opening to the presence of the pain of your loss, in acknowledging the inevitability of the pain, in being willing to gently embrace the pain, you demonstrate the courage to honor the pain.” And with it, the everlasting reality that love never has to end.
Grief is an “experience of connection rather than severance of relationship” (Moules et. al., 2007). “The experience of grief is about changed understandings of relationships and connections.” The grief journey takes both courage and attention.
Grief is an intentional process that allows us to glean a greater understanding of our love, ourselves, and how to journey on without the physical presence of our loved one.
“The capacity to love requires the necessity to mourn” (Wolfelt, 2016). “In other words, love and grief are two sides of the same precious coin. One does not—and cannot—exist without the other. They are the yin and yang of our lives. What higher purpose is there in life but to give and receive love? Love is the essence of a life of abundance and joy. No matter what life brings our way, love is our highest goal, our most passionate quest. People sometimes say that grief is the price we pay for the joy of having loved. If we allow ourselves the grace that comes with love, we must allow ourselves the grace that is required to mourn.”
Becoming your own companion on the grief journey can sound daunting. Especially when you might be feeling more alone than ever.
"When someone you love dies, you must find within yourself the courage to embrace the pain and go on living without them” (Wolfelt, 2019). “The word courage comes from the Old French word 'corage,' which means 'heart' and 'innermost feelings.' In grief, you must open your heart to your innermost feelings and, instead of retreating from them, boldly befriend them. For it is in befriending your grief that you heal.”
It is with grace we allow ourselves to mourn. It is with compassion we allow ourselves to experience intense sorrow. And it is with understanding we give ourselves permission to take the time we need, and yet gently push us to move one step forward along our journey of healing.
Grief ebbs and flows like ocean waves. With each wave we need to recognize what it is we feel. We need to allow the emotion to have space in our thoughts to honor our loved one…and allow ourselves to then release the wave of emotion.
This intentional process is much easier said than done. When the tidal waves of immense sorrow overcome us, we need to treat ourselves ever so gently, and give ourselves permission to just breathe.
“When Grief comes to visit me, it’s like being visited by a tsunami” (Gilbert, 2009). “I am given just enough warning to say, “Oh my God, this is happening RIGHT NOW,” and then I drop to the floor on my knees and let it rock me. How do you survive the tsunami of Grief? By being willing to experience it, without resistance.”
Remember, grief is with us because the love is.
If you maintain a connection with your loved one and keep the relationship with your loved one alive, you will experience everlasting love; a bond that will never die.
Teresa Jacobson is a Doctor of Behavioral Health and Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor Supervisor who is counseling Ohio adults of all ages and life experiences via secure Telehealth visits. Teresa can be reached by email firstname.lastname@example.org, phone (513) 206-3026, or by visiting www.jacobsoncounseling.org
Gilbert, E. (2009). The Ted Interview. Retrieved from: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/elizabeth-
Moules, N.J., Simonson, K., Fleiszer, A. R., Pring, M., and Glasgow, B. (2007). The soul of sorrow work:
Grief and therapeutic interventions with families. Journal of Family Nursing, 13(1), 117-141.
Neinmeyer, R. A. (2016). Techniques of Grief Therapy: Assessment and Intervention. Routledge, New York,
Shear, M. K. (2016). Grief is a form of love. In R. A. Neimeyer (Ed.), Series in death, dying, and bereavement.
Techniques of grief therapy: Assessment and intervention (p. 14–18). Routledge/Taylor & Francis Group.
Wolfelt, A.D. (2016, December 14). Mustering the courage to mourn. Center for Loss & Life Transition.
Wolfelt, A.D. (2019). Loving from the Outside in, Mourning from the Inside Out. Companion Press.