In the end, love and grief are intertwined; we can't have one without the other. Grieving involves confronting the totality of our relationship with the person, along with all of our many and conflicting feelings; holding onto the good memories & joyful moments, grieving for what was and what wasn't and what could never be. At the end of grief, should come comfort, peace, and meaning. Sadness can remain but be diminished. A resolve to honor the memory of the person and bring aspects of their good character and qualities into one's own life helps to heal the pain.
~Melanie Greenberg, Ph.D.
Grief is the price we pay for love.
~Queen Elizabeth II
We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.
~Kenji Miyazawa (1896-1933)
When You Are Bereaved, It Is Alright to…
Scream in the shower.
Yell in the car.
Howl at the moon.
Cry anywhere you like.
Misplace your glasses.
Lose the car.
Forget your own name.
Put milk in the cupboard,
Toilet paper in the refrigerator,
And ice cream in the oven.
Beat up a pillow.
Stomp on the ground.
Throw stones in a lake.
Change grocery stores if it hurts.
Wear one black shoe and one navy.
Have tear stains on your tie.
Eat French fries for breakfast,
Toast for lunch,
And peanut butter for dinner
(as long as you eat).
Write him a letter.
Bake him a cake.
Smell his clothes.
Celebrate his life on his birthday.
Talk to your pets; they understand.
Leave his room the way it is
For as long as you like.
Say his name just to hear the sound.
Talk about him to others.
Tell loved ones what you need.
Say no when you feel like it.
Cancel plans if you want.
Have a bad day.
It’s alright to hurt.
And One Day, when you’re ready…
It’s alright to laugh again.
Dance and feel pretty.
Have a good time.
Look forward to tomorrow.
Sing in the shower.
Smile at a friend’s new baby.
Wear make-up once more.
Go for a day, a week,
And even a month without crying.
Celebrate the holidays.
Forgive those who failed you.
Learn something new.
Look at his pictures
And remember with happiness,
Go on with your life.
Cherish the memories.
And One Day when it’s time…
To love again.
From the March issue of The Compassionate Friends Mid.TN newsletter
Grief can't be shared. Everyone carries it alone. His own burden in his own way.
~Anne Morrow Lindbergh
Outward appearances can be so deceiving. Even when people seem to be cold and heartless, you never know what might have happened to them to make them that way. Not saying it's right to be that way, but sometimes people build up thick walls just to keep from being hurt again. It takes courage and strength to not allow adversity to change you and make you hard.
Open Letter to a Closed-Off Heart...
I know you are in there and just came by to say how much I love you and care. I just came to see if you would let me touch you or comfort you today. If hugs really had the power of healing you would be the most healed woman in the whole universe because I could hug you forever. If tears were nutritious and filling then you would never be hungry because I weep so many over your broken heart. If love truly changed everything for the better then you would be the envy of everyone because you are loved so much more than you can imagine.
There are so many things that I'm sure I can never truly understand about your pain, but I'd listen patiently to every word of explanation for the rest of my life if only you'd share them. You say you don't feel alive and nothing matters anymore, and I believe you. That much I understand and it breaks my heart into microscopic pieces. Your broken pieces are surely sharper and more numerous, but with a grief this enormous, who could count them? Who would weigh them?
Sometimes I wish that the screaming inside you could quiet down just enough so that you could hear my heart the way you used to hear it before the horrors came. I wish there was room enough inside the swollen space of your pain so that I could sit down next to you like an angel of mercy...watching over you, and attending to you during those few hours when you sleep deeply.
I want to say that if I could tell you anything it would be...but then there is so much I want to tell you. All of it means "I love you and I care" but some of it might seem selfish even though that is not what I mean to communicate. You see, I get it. I totally get that the the day your child died there were two deaths but only one funeral. I know you died that day...only not really...it's more like you are suffering right at the brink of death without the mercy of dying. That's the part you think I don't see, I guess. That's the part that kills me. It makes me die too. Your hurt can't be my hurt, but I assure you that I am carrying a piece of it that feels so heavy. I don't ever want to put it down because I don't want to let you down. I don't feel badly about carrying it. I just wish I could carry more and make it easier for you.
Because you are still alive, and because you have learned how to wear all the right masks to keep going, very few people know or see what's happened. There is no ceremony for the loss of the living. I want to scream at the top of my lungs for the world to hear, "Doesn't anyone see her? Doesn't anyone care that her heart is crushed? Isn't there anyone who can help her heal? Where are the paramedics for a broken heart????" But it would all be like so much white noise because everyone else believes you when you say you're OK. I know it's not their fault, but sometimes I hate them for believing you because maybe if they really knew things would get better. That's just one more thing I don't really know.
This much I do know with all my heart. Because I love you, I love your child and your sibling and everyone who has ever or will ever matter to you. I take the loss of your dear ones personally because I take you personally. Our stupid society that has most of the world convinced that grief and mourning are too private and too ugly to be out in the open, and that just sucks. The ancient Jews had it right. Torn garments. Sackcloth. Ashes. Corporate wailing. Ceremonial mourning. We need these things to help us stay together in the bad times. We need these things so that no one gets left behind...not you, and not me. We need these things so that the dead are properly honored and remembered because we all participated in the mourning without a time clock and without shame. If I could tear my clothes and grieve and wail at the city gate for you without being locked up in an institution, I would do it. You are so much less alone than you feel.
Don't feel sorry for making me part of your life only to have drawn me into this terrible suffering. If your child had lived we would have celebrated together. But because your child died, whether you let me in or not, we are mourning together. That's what love does. You are loved that much. I only wish you would let yourself feel it.
Praying with all my heart that you will open up to love soon...not just because I miss you, but because I think you are precious and should be loved grandly every minute of the day. That's how God feels toward you--only bigger and better--so why wouldn't I feel just the same?
I love you. I miss you. You're beautiful.
Your compassionate friend.
~contributed by Grieving Mothers
Can I see another's woe, and not be in sorrow too? Can I see another's grief, and not seek for kind relief?
Ḻife Їs Ḻike Å Ʀainbow ه ` ه ` ه `ه ` ه` ه
You Ñeed Ṱhe Sun , Ṱhe Ʀain ~ Ṱo Ḿake Їts Ĉolors Åppear
~grieving mother, Jill Compton
Grief is a normal and natural response to loss. It is originally an unlearned feeling process. Keeping grief inside increases your pain.
When it seems that our sorrow is too great
to be borne, let us think of the great family
of the heavy-hearted into which our grief
has given us entrance, and inevitably, we
will feel about us their arms, their
sympathy, their understanding.
To the living, I am gone.
To the sorrowful, I will never return.
To the angry, I was cheated.
But to the happy, I am at peace, and
to the faithful I have never left.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore, gazing at a beautiful sea
As you look in awe at a mighty forest and its grand majesty remember me.
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity
Remember me in your heart, your thoughts and your memories of the times we loved, the times we cried, the times we fought, the times we laughed.
For if you always think of me, I will never be gone.
~Contributed Via Jill Compton