Grief changes shape, but it never ends.
~ Keanu Reeves
When was the last time you experienced grief? Some people see it as a deep and meaningful right of passage, a blessing of sorts—and others see it as a painful curse they wish would never visit them. Which is your perspective? If we want to fully experience the deeper meaning of life in a human skin, embracing our grief is not an option. The only choice we have is how we process grief.
A very close friend’s mother passed last night; she was 102 years of age. It has reawakened within my heart and mind the pain and sadness associated with losing both of my parents about seven years ago; each just shy of their 95th birthday. While all three beloved people lived very full and productive lives their passing has, nonetheless, created a void in the mind and heart that we can never fill—nor should we try because the invisible essence of grief (aka, a transcendent love that passes all human understanding) permanently occupies that space.
Processing the death of a loved one is a process that really never ends. As Keanu Reeves inferred, grief really never goes away—it simply sublimates over time.
Whether it is a sudden and unexpected transition or one we see coming because of prolonged illness or declining health, to contemplate the meaning of life without that person opens the sacred door to the heart and invites us to explore several things. Foremost, we get to fully appreciate the role that person played in our life, be it a parent, a child, a close family member, our best friend (or even our beloved pet). In short, their loss invites us to acknowledge the void they leave—and to grieve a loss we can never duplicate or replace. However, in the spaciousness of enough time, we see that the best way to honor that relationship is to reenter and mindfully engage in life, knowing that we are not less because of that loss. In fact, we are more because we carry the imprint of that person’s essence in our expanded heart forever.
I have long believed that fear attaches itself to a concern of the loss—or death—of someone or something. Beyond the loss of a loved one, it can include the death of a lifestyle, a job, a home, or even a reputation; all of which can be grieved; loss of anyone or anything close and meaningful to us is worthy of our grief. If embrace our grief affirmatively it can help us transcend our fear. The practice of a lifetime is to remember that life itself is but one long sacred continuum that connects everyone and everything. Regardless of where we exist on the timeline of life, in space and time, all that has ever been, is now, or shall ever be, is contained within One eternal life; it tethers us to the invisible presence of something greater than ourselves. A belief in separation may exist in our own minds—but never in the continuity and flow of eternal Life itself.
Hold the remembrance that it is a blessing whenever grief arises. See it as a divine nudge—a whisper from the ethers of the Universe saying “fear not—for you are not alone.” Know that your grief sacredly tethers you to whomever (or whatever) lingers in your heart and mind as a loss; they are as close in this very moment as is your own breath.”
Peace, Dennis Merritt Jones