Where did I go?

You’ve lost a loved one and you’re grieving. You may have lost sight of part or all of yourself. It’s completely normal to not recognize yourself, or to see yourself as wounded, diminished, damaged, or even someone completely different than yourself. Grief can trigger re-evaluation of your own life, making you satisfied or dissatisfied with life in general. And so begins what for some is a profound unhappiness or discomfort with their own life, and for others is merely a trigger to rush head long into changes they feel that they need to make,

The foundation or your life is your soul. I have explored my soul from a point where I believe it had been completely emptied. As a technician and observer, I watched for and logged changes as my soul rebuilt itself, and have developed understanding and functional models for our soul and for the energy of love that binds and powers our soul.

We are born into an existence of unknown duration, with an empty soul. As we grow, mature, and find love, our soul fills with memories and experiences that turn that existence into a life we love living. The metaphysical definitions of our life fill or soul with vast collections of memories and life experiences that are held in a shape our path through life has defined and a shape that we have come to recognize as our self. These memories and experiences are structured and bound with the energy of love, much like the atomic structures of physical matter.

The love that holds our soul together comes from love that we have built in our life, as well as love that flows from many places into our lives mostly from relationships of love and from personal passions. Love that we share with intimate lovers and friends is able to resonate and amplify, and so those who love well can capture and hold enough love energy to build larger more complex souls thank those who love little.

In truly trusting love relationships, we allow lovers direct access to powering parts of our soul directly, and we directly power parts of their soul. The resonance between our souls expands two souls with shared love, far beyond what either lover could do on their own. The first of these powerful soul expanding shared loves happens between a parent and their child, then as we mature and build an intimate lifetime relationship with a lover, a larger and larger part of our soul is powered by that lover.

In the first two years after our son died, I avoided looking in mirrors except for basic needs. I did not look into my own eyes in the mirror because all I saw was emptiness and pain. It’s often said that the eyes are windows into our soul, and my windows showed me the extent of the damage to my soul that losing a child brings.

I came to understand that the human soul, while virtually impossible to kill, can be shattered into an infinite number of pieces that no longer make sense to us, pieces that no longer reflect the light of the person who we have come to accept ourselves to be.

Unrelentingly, grief forces you to change. You cannot emerge with a soul looking exactly as you did before loss. And so, without enough love to support itself, all or part of the shattered pieces of your soul drop to the very bottom of your soul in a heap that resembles destruction of everything you know to be true.

Your soul is essential to life. In other posts on this blog, I define the soul as where we store and distribute love’s energy. If visualize physical matter and we understand that our soul is a metaphysical collection of memories, emotions and experiences bonded together into form by the energy of love that has turned our existence into a life we love living, perhaps we can see that our soul resembles a giant complicated molecule or crystal or perhaps giant mirror of the life we have lived so far.

Since big parts of our soul are memories and emotions assembled with love that flows from connections with those we have lost, parts of our soul collapse when they die and their love energy suddenly stops flowing into us. If the collapse is significant enough, and the loss of a child is that significant, our entire soul can collapse.

And so, the memories, emotions and experiences that we call a life that we love are now in disarray at our feet, seemingly invisible, and for this time we merely exist because without that love holding things together we don’t recognize even our own life.

The good news is that the emotions, memories and experiences have not disappeared or been destroyed. They are the individuals atoms of that complex metaphysical molecule we call life. They are the building blocks of what was a life that we have loved, one we have defined for ourselves. We can rebuild and redefine a life that will resemble our past life in many ways, or not at all, because we will decide which parts we keep and which pats we discard. We will decide the shape and structure of this rebuilt molecule of life from the debris collapsed at the bowwtom of our soul.

We will not do this alone, we have only lost one of the sources of love’s energy that formed this molecule of life, and we still have the ability to find and capture new love energy through daily life, through contact and exchange with many other people we love in our life.

Where do we start rebuilding? We will find some pieces of what we consider to be foundational, and we find some love to energize it and we connect it to the next piece. We’re short on love, because we have lost, but even small amounts that flow into us can begin the rebuilding process. This makes our family and friends important to our redefinition, because love they flow to us, often because they know we are grieving and want to help, can reenergize and stabilize the pieces our soul has broken into.

Trust in life is hard after death, so we lose the ability to trust others to maintain parts of our soul. Loving life was once a subconscious function of our soul, now becomes something we must think about, and that process is exhausting to our physical life. Over time, the memories and emotions in our soul, the shattered pieces of us, will become more self supporting and solid.

Slowly, and it does take a long time, a shape of this new version of your redefined life begins to emerge com the rubble. Like a puzzle, the more pieces that find a place where they fit and are stable, the easier it is to see the shape your life is becoming. But this puzzle will have many pieces left that fit nowhere. These are the parts of your old life that can’t fit into your redefinition. They will clutter the floor of your soul, perhaps forever, or they will be eventually discarded to make room for your newly defined soul as it expands again.

In this rebuilding period, we often find atoms of our soul that we had fit into our old life, but can’t find a logical fit or place for them in our new life. Inevitably there is guilt in abandoning something that you once found value in, but in reality these were often the weak relationships which were more destabilizing than stabilizing. Grief has given you the reason to evaluate what you keep and toss anything that doesn’t fit. You may be surprised what becomes the strongest parts of your new life, people and relationships.

There is great resentment and anger that is a result of this process that forces us to redefine our lives, lives that we were immensely happy with. The images of those fleeing wildfires seem to fit some of us as we flee life after the death of a loved one. People grab their memories, their photos and videos and become refugees looking for a new home. Death of a loved one makes us a refugee that we never wanted to be, and stole a person we would want with us as we rebuilt our life after this fire.

Anger is a cancer of the soul that consumes love. Love is the energy that bond our soul into a solid cohesive structure. Allowing anger into grief, makes reassembling your soul much hard, sometimes impossible. The anger will continually tear apart pieces that you have decided to keep and new structures you have put together. You will have constructive times where things begin to make sense, followed by anger that tears that apart so you need to start over on that part of your soul. Exhausting and counterproductive, so always extinguish anger when you feel it.

With time, with love, a new you emerges from grief. With more time, you might love that new you more than the old you. With time you will love life again. With redefinition, you will smile and laugh without guilt, because you live and love knowing that you have rebuilt your own soul around the memories of those you have loved and lost. And when you love life again, you have moved well beyond the simple pointless existence that grief brought you to, without losing the essence of your life before grief.

Be well, seek peace, give your soul permission to rebuild itself around loss, and then give your soul as much love as you can find in daily life.


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  1. There is no rebuilding after I’ve lost my only child. He was the center of my universe. Every morning since he died, I wake up and there is nothing to look forward to. I’m not young. Nothing is going to change or get better. I miss him so very much and our lives are empty now. I guess I’m just waiting to die.

    • The choice to allow yourself to feel again is probably one of the toughest choices we can make after losing a child. Even a smile can bring guilt for the moment of enjoyment.

      I don’t have context with how long it’s been for you, but it took me years. I write hoping to encourage others to find their way forward sooner, to choose to allow themselves to heal back to loving life. A part of that drive to share comes from watching my parents live unhappily and angrily for decades after my bother’s suicide. When our son died accidentally, I had a model of how I didn’t want to be.

      Take care of yourself, feed your soul with love from small places, places you enjoyed or relate to.

      Seek peace, try to seek life again while you have some left.

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