Good Grief

Yesterday my friend unexpectedly lost her beloved pet, so yesterday was heartbreaking and awful in that sharp and yet wavy, undulating way that only something like grief can be.

I’ve been thinking: I don’t know if we truly ever get over it, the death of someone we love.

But for my part, I don’t think I really want to get over it entirely.

That is part of the relationship too, isn’t it?

The loss of it.

I don’t think you can put away the feelings of grief and leave intact the feelings of love and joy.

To mute one is to mute the other but they both hold value, they both give perspective. They both build character.

I think you can (and do) move on, you keep breathing, and I think it’s good to try and hold those feelings of grief with the same tenderness that you hold the ones of love. That’s the most honorable thing you can do for a relationship that so affected you.

Let it keep affecting you.

Learn to source strength from it.

Don’t shut it out, rather invite it all in.

It’s part of your story now.

I often think of the places in my heart that I keep my friends and loved ones as pockets. Everyone I know has a heart pocket. Some of my heart pockets are huge, and some are little, but at this point in my life I have hundreds of heart pockets.

The biggest loves of my life have the biggest pockets, of course. And the ones that resulted in loss, are enormous.

The depth of the loss, in my experience, is always relative to the height of the love.  

Those pockets are so huge, because there is so much good stuff in there: love and laughter and good times and bad times and snuggles and scratches, and yes, the equally proportionate chasm of loss.

I don’t want to get over it because I have seen that sorrow is OK… even good… when reminisced upon with an equal portion of joy. Both places should be visited because both places hold significant value.

Yesterday I was able to so easily access that great sad place with my friend, because I’ve never gotten over my own loss. I can go right there, and I can stay for a while, because sometimes I do that anyway without being prompted to at all. Because I want to. Like looking through old photos.

I have learned to source some joy from that sad place, because the sadness exists as a result of such great joy to begin with. In that light, I can’t really want it to go away because it’s as much a part of the story as the rest of it is. I have to make friends with it.

I don’t think I’m never going to get over it and I don’t think I want to.

Yesterday was a wonderful reminder that one gift of your own grief is that you can be a source of strength to loved ones who are grieving.

You can’t take someone’s sadness from them. But you can access your own, and in so doing you can share the strength you’ve been able to find in your own sadness.

You can’t take, but you can give.

The way through the pain is straight through the pain, and that’s no fun at all, but I’ll walk with you.

*****

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Published by Emily Murray

I believe in our strength and adaptability as humans, and in the serious work involved in becoming who we dream of being. Self-care is a huge component of self-love, and The Changing Room is all about finding new ways of growing and healing. Seeing beauty in ourselves and in each other, and translating that to living our best lives. Become a sponsor of The Changing Room! https://www.patreon.com/thechangingroom

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