Life, as you know it, stops when someone you love dies.
What was once an unending future filled with love and companionship, suddenly - and against your will - became an uncertain future with no instructions on how to navigate the fallout. A future that is overwhelmingly filled with pain, confusion, and loneliness. This is not what you had planned.
You will wonder at the things that seemed important to you before loss ― all of the unnecessary things in life that seemed elemental to your happiness. You will also wonder at all of the important moments you took for granted.
Grief can produce an alchemy of the soul. This change can occur when we allow ourselves to move through the pain of our loss, a pain that ultimately cannot be avoided. When we allow the heartache of our loss to be processed, this pain can spark a desire to search for answers about the purpose of life and loss.
Before loss, the soul tends to be overshadowed by the irrelevant demands and notions of the ego. After loss, through the flames of pain, you will find that all of the material desires and trivial needs that seemed so elemental to your happiness fall away and are exposed as meaningless.
As the non-essentials fall away, what is revealed is the healing wisdom of your soul, and the profound purpose of what it means to live this physical experience with a great reverence for life and love and an understanding that even after the death of the physical body, life and love continue on. The love you shared with your lost loved one can never die. It will always be yours.
Healing your heart doesn’t mean that you won’t still have suffering, or moments of grief, but you will be able to move through those painful moments more quickly, and the tears will eventually transform into moments of joy as you remember your loved one and all that you shared.
A part of the healing process is getting to a point where you can recognize how blessed and fortunate you were to have experienced such a life-changing love. That’s when your memories will become treasures. Treasures that are always yours and can never be lost. You will always be connected to your loved one.
The anguish of grief cannot happen without great Love. Sometimes the tears and smiles, heartbreak and joy, will happen simultaneously, and you’ll understand that this is the very essence of the meaning of life.
While we would rather avoid the pain that comes with the loss of someone we love, if we allow it, the pain can act as a guide that can lead us back to the love we shared with our loved one, a love that can never be lost.
We can also become aware that there is still a life waiting for us to live. This may not be the life we had planned, but there is still some happiness that can be found.
This is the alchemy of grief.
You can find my book, The Other Side of Complicated Grief, here.
You can find my Facebook grief support page, The Other Side of Complicated Grief, here.
This post is part of Common Grief, a Healthy Living editorial initiative. Grief is an inevitable part of life, but that doesn’t make navigating it any easier. The deep sorrow that accompanies the death of a loved one, the end of a marriage or even moving far away from home, is real. But while grief is universal, we all grieve differently. So we started Common Grief to help learn from each other. Let’s talk about living with loss. If you have a story you’d like to share, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.