I do not fear my own eventual death, instead I fear not living and loving today while I have this precious gift of another day. I fear that those who will grieve my eventual and inevitable death will become lost in that grief, and so by these writings I want more people to better understand grief in their lives.
In the darkest months after the death of our son I came to this statement in my private journal started after my brother’s suicide five years before: “If I can figure out how to heal and live with this loss, how to return to loving my life and loving those around me, then the rest of my life will seem much simpler and easier for having well healed this grief.”
When I tell someone that I write about grief, a common reaction is that it must be depressing. The subtle undertone is that I might be depressed. There is challenge writing this openly about my experiences and ideas about grief because this opening of my soul is as vulnerable as a human gets by their own actions. There is also challenge knowing that everyone reading this is somehow broken and seeking answers.
Quite the opposite of depressing, grief can be a great comfort, an affirmation of our own wholeness and personal worth. Learning to consciously grieve towards healing has become a great strength in my life with benefits extending far beyond the death of loved ones. I have visited that thought many times, and eventually stopped seeing grief as an affliction or an imposition, but rather see grief as an evolved opportunity to explore and understand more about what I love and the mechanics of how I love. Through several significant losses, this shift in perspective made grief a friend rather than an enemy, a teacher rather than a torturer.
Grief is a cleansing process of distillation of our own souls, de-cluttering, purifying and concentrating the important parts, often ridding ourselves of the parts of life that hang heavily on us as we seek purpose and meaning in the efforts and trials of daily life.
We are the lucky ones. We have these days, hopefully years and decades ahead of us to build love in our lives.
Having a positive attitude on grief, considering it as a responsibility for having loved someone rather than an affliction will make grief seem much easier, less damaging and much more productive.
Do not discount the pain and confusion that it took me to get here. If my writing is to have any purpose it must be to walk along side you, to help guide you in your grief and help you find the least damaging path through you grief. If I help you find that path which causes you to no longer fear the next inevitable loss in your life, then you will have become stronger and I will have succeeded.
I owe much of my positive attitude and acceptance skills to my late Aunt Jane, the indefatigable promoter of positive attitude from the 100% Danish half of my blood. A fiery energetic redhead, dark clouds feared her and stayed away from Aunt Jane’s shining light and positive attitude. She faced every challenge in her life with excitement and resolve, and I visit her memory often to fill my soul with her love.