“Life is a continuous balancing of love and loss, because in order to have any loss mean something, we first have to have something we truly value.” ~ Alexandra Stoddard
On the front of my 9×11 hardcover calendar book it reads: “2017 is a good year to have a good year.” But, am I?
There’s a chasm between wanting to be over the grief of my beloved dying and clinging to the chaos born from his death.
After losing a loved one, this is the brave dance we do. We wrestle, grapple, fight, resist, and take ownership of our grief. We acknowledge, admit and attend to the full array of feelings which arrive with sorrow’s storm.
Many choose not to undertake this step. They prefer denial and bucking up. I don’t blame them. I’ve been there. I’ve tried the detour.
Folks are free to choose any path that works for them.
However, this time, I just can’t go around. I’m in the mess as much as I was into the relationship with the man I love who died a year and a half ago. A man I called Fire who burned bright right up until the night he died unexpectedly in his sleep (damn heart attack!).
He said to me, “I’m all in,” and he was. Until he was out. Not by his choice. Nor mine. I was all in, too.
Since his death, I’ve grieved like it was my profession.
Grief has been an honor, a spiritual opening and a building of my emotional biceps. And yet, even athletes don’t stay in the gym all day.
A friend recently asked me, “Do you think it’s true that the greater the love the deeper the grief?”
I said, “Yes, with a caveat.” (Because I love saying that word.) I had great love, as did my sister. So did the woman standing before me asking the question. We each still experience deep grief.
And yet, I don’t think the longer and harder one grieves is the measure of their love. With hard loss comes pain. How people cope is as individual as the paths to love.
For me, grief is a challenge, gift and opportunity bestowed upon me by the grace of a sacred love I was lucky enough to live. The aftermath is wretched. And it’s beautiful. In this moment, I vow to do my best to grow from it.
There’s no right way. There’s no wrong way. There’s only grief.