Humans have evolved uniquely to seek and enjoy relationships based in love. Love is the basis of the formation of society and community. Family is the smallest and oldest unit of love based community. Because I understand that grief is love, for me it follows that grief must have an evolved purpose. If we can believe that grief has some purpose other than painful emotions, our attitude and explorations of grief can be altered in a positive life changing way.
Grief can be a teacher, a journey to wisdom acquired from the pain of loss of a loved one. Admittedly grief can be a harsh teacher, but if we chose to not turn away and instead we seek to learn through grief, we will come back to loving our life more thoroughly and urgently. Those who see grief only as torture will run as quickly as possible from the torturer and likely miss the deeper lessons about love that our evolution has intended for us.
No good life, full of love and happiness, will escape feeling grief from the loss of a loved one or the triggering of grief with our own eventual passing.
Death is universal; it comes eventually to all of us. Yet, even with acceptance that death will be our end, we don’t really teach about grief in school, or even in daily life. Most of us aren’t comfortable speaking openly about love, and grief is the most intense and personal expression of love between two people, so out of our sense of privacy we hesitate to openly share our feelings of love and of grief. My experiences of loss tore down the walls and opened my heart and soul to public view. I became more comfortable speaking of loss and of love in public places and one to one when the opportunity presents itself.
Experience has caused me to reject the stages of grief understanding as a process with an end. I don’t believe that we need to end grief so much as we need to end the pain of grief in a timely fashion so that we may comfortable return to and enrich the rest of our lives with the lessons we have learned. When you become comfortable with purposeful grief, you will be of more value to others who might benefit from hearing of your healing. In my travels on the paths of grief, I have helped others, and I have been helped by others. One of my first signs that I was returning to loving life and those around me again was when I found energy to offer help to someone grieving. If we close down and are unable to share our thoughts on grief, then grief will remain a solitary and frightening experience for most people.
Do not deny the pain of grief. Grief causes pain, the immediate fires of emotions after the death of a loved one are an intensely painful call to action or at least a trigger to harsh reaction. It can be challenging to try to see that pain as purposeful, to see that pain as a call to learn more about yourself and about love, about how you love and why you love. In subsequent posts, I will call you to extinguish the anger in your grief first and offer some insight into methods that have worked for me.
And so, the natural inclination is to run from the pain that grief has caused. This loosely fits the denial form of staged grief. A secondary natural inclination is to be angry because of the pain or disruption that grief brings, which loosely fits the anger form of staged grief. Please note that I accept the stage descriptions as reasonable clinical descriptions of some phases of the complex emotions normally attached to grief, but I reject them as milestones on a way to escape or complete grief. Stages are too simplistic because you can have one foot each of the stages at any given time and the path is never linear. Today, you might be 50% angry, 20% denial, 10% bargaining, etc.
I prefer a self-developed model that allows you the freedom to not label yourself today and to allow your to distill your grief into something smaller, lighter, but more concentrated and pure, more easily carried in daily life. Today, more than twenty years after serious grief first entered my life, I am studying grief as evolved love. This blog of support is a project along my path of lifetime learning about love, some sort of a calling to my soul that is founded in my losses. My study of love will end one day, but the lessons I have learned will have been shared to help others learn about love through grief. I call it part of the answer to why I am here, to what is my purpose in life. Losses, and the grief that followed each loss, have added to my purpose and to my understanding, and I wish to share the thoughts and promote discussions that help promote understanding.
Grief has slapped you hard, I know this because you are here looking for something. I know that you are likely here seeking either meaning from grief, or an escape. I will try to promote meaning and purpose so that you might walk away from your loss with more than you arrived.
I ask you to trust me, to listen to my words and if they resonate, to let me help you to try to find some meaning, some teaching, and some purpose in your grief that will enrich your life and the lives around you by making it more comfortable to speak of lost loved ones and to teach from the experiences and lessons of lost loved ones.
It’s a big ask in the early stages of grief, but if you can accept that your grief is part of your evolution that is meant to teach, you will resent grief less and learn more.