Grief is Love

I had the pleasure to meet with a fellow grief counselor two weeks ago. She shared something with me that I have not been able to stop thinking about that I would love to share with you. She had a grief support group that she would routinely lead, and a parent one day pulled her aside and said, “Do you know what the worst thing about grief is? I have all this love and I have no where to put it.” We both sat there in the middle of a Panera thinking about both the weight and truth of this statement. It doesn’t matter so much what the relationship is with the person you lose, what matters is that you love them, and that love doesn’t end nor die with them. This love is one that has been deeply ingrained within and we are faced with the challenge when this person is no longer physically with us, how we can continue to have a relationship with them.

One reason why this is so important is because sometimes, due to the nature around the death or the relationship we have with that individual, we attempt to justify or rationalize what “appropriate grief” should look like. Often I hear people question why the pain hurts so deeply when a parent dies who has lived a long and meaningful life. The answer is simple. You have invested time where you loved, hoped, dreamed and did life with them. All these accumulate and you are faced with where these thoughts, dreams, habits, and love can go? You may be thinking…they simply aren’t replaceable. This is true, the objective isn’t to replace them, it is to honor them. But how do I do that?

Each person is different. So please first know, there are no two people who grieve alike. If I may give a personal example, I have lost my mom. She is someone I will always love and crave one more day with. When she passed, I didn’t just experience the sting of death physically separating us, but I also lost the fulfillment of the things we wanted to do. The joys of us singing and dancing to music randomly for example. Ultimately, she is someone that I am a better person because. My love for her continues as does her memory. She has a legacy that I seek to honor and cherish. Honoring her legacy is where I choose to pour all the love I had for her into. This may be something you can do as well. Legacies are ones that are fostered in unique ways. My mom taught me how to spread kindness, and one way she did it was through her amazing homemade chocolate chip cookies. Some weeks I make these cookies in honor of her and give them to someone to bless. It is simply taking the lessons, the gifts these individuals offered, and continuing to pass them on. What did they stand for? What did they love to do? What are some ways you honor legacies of those who have made a difference in you?

If there is any encouragement that I can offer to someone who is mourning, please let it be that you are in the midst of a deep wrestle with love; seeking to find how you can redefine the relationship you had, and continue to love that individual. Listen for their voice. What would they say to your hurts and pains? Do you feel permission to receive their words? If you possibly are faced with the idea that you should be grieving but aren’t, give yourself grace. Maybe it is because you didn’t truly love that individual. Do not allows the should(s) in life to prevent you from experiencing the blessings before you.

If this concept of grief as love fascinates you, I encourage you to explore the “Theory of Continuing Bonds.”¬†This theory posits that continuing ties to loved ones is an important aspect of the grief experience. It is both healthy and normal.¬† There are some dangers to this, for instance if that bond is preventing you from living the life you desire, and if that is the case, and you feel stuck, please give me a call. I would be honored to work with you.

Know today that you are honoring the legacies of those before you, by just being you.

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Mindful Path Counseling & Wellness
2301 Olympia Dr. Ste. 200
Flower Mound TX 75028
  Fort Worth Counseling & Intervention
550 Bailey Ave. Ste. 235
Ft. Worth, TX 76107
(817) 412-1426

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