I’m not an expert on grief and loss; I’ve just felt a lot of it. I don’t know anyone who is an expert. All I know is it’s one of those raw emotions that tear us up inside and lasts too damn long. The person going through the grief feels lost … the people trying to support the griever feel helpless because there is nothing they can do. Grief and loss are top of mind for me now because a dear friend is suffering the loss of her husband, best friend and soul mate. So, why talk about grief? What is there to say?
I’m probably writing this more for myself than anyone else, so bear with me.
As much as it hurts, I think that the grief I’ve felt at the loss of loved ones has served to make me better. I’ve lost many, and I know it’s not over – my Mom, who was my best friend in the world; my Pop, who thought the sun rose and set on me; my grandmothers, who each taught me different and equally valuable lessons; and my dear friend John, who was the most wonderful, thoughtful, giving man on the face of this earth. Then there were my pets – my beloved Maia, the cat who taught me that Siamese kitties ARE superior; McGyver, my 20 pound silver tabby whom my husband swore came out of my womb; Magellan, the cowardly lion who whispered sweet nothings in my ear; and finally, Kismet, my tiny three-pound Pomeranian with one kidney, who stole my heart and whose short five years on this earth were a gift that I’ll cherish forever.
What have I learned from my grief and loss? Mom taught me to be strong, to not sweat the small stuff and to not let guilt rule my actions. Pop showed me the value of family, a strong work ethic and investing wisely. Through my friend John I learned the value of faith and true friends, and how to stay positive in the face of adversity. All of my pets, past and present, have taught me that unconditional love and respect are the most important gifts one can give and receive in this life.
So, I know grief and loss will come again. And, believe me I’m not looking forward to it. But, in this moment, when grief is not so near, I can truthfully say that having my family, friends and pets in my life make me a better me. Even though I know, at some point in time, they may leave my life, and I will grieve terribly – for me it is truly “better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.” Alfred Lord Tennyson was absolutely right when he said those words.
Will someone please remind me of this the next time I feel inconsolable grief and loss?
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Chief Inspiration Officer | SafeHarbor Coaching | For women facing life’s transitions
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