When someone you love dies living often feels like a battle of opposing thoughts, feelings, needs. It might feel like a betrayal, a travesty, to go to work, travel, eat a delicious meal, enjoy a sunset, laugh or engage with others in a way that actually feels good as you simultaneously feel despair, loneliness, anger, sorrow.
Despair and hope. Sadness and happiness. Rage and gratitude. Numbness and curiosity. Experiencing moments of hope, happiness or gratitude does not mean the absence of pain, grief or sadness. It is normal for opposing emotions to coexist. Grief, as in life, is not either/or, all or nothing, it is messy, full of complexities and opposing truths.
When grief is at its most acute it is inconceivable that there will ever be moments of respite, much less moments of gratitude or happiness. Trust, in time, those moments will come. It will be in those moments that you will recognize both/and. I miss my loved one and I am grateful for the time we shared. I am furious at the injustice of my loved ones death and I am grateful they did not suffer. I am filled with sadness when I hear that song and I smile remembering how they loved to dance whenever it came on the radio.
Feel your sadness. Grieve. Mourn. Be. There will come a time in grief that you will feel sadness while simultaneously creating space for gratitude, positive remembrance, connection to the people, work, and hobbies that fill you, still. I feel so exhausted by my grief, I just want to stay in bed and I am looking forward to playing with my grandchildren. I am overwhelmed by the thought of going back to work and I am needing the distraction and routine. The thought of looking at pictures breaks my heart and seeing how happy their life was fills me with gratitude.
Both/and is grace, gray, space to be. Both/and removes the shoulds, the guilt, the pressure to only exist in darkness. Your loved one did not exist in darkness. Your love does not exist in darkness. Neither do you.
Thank you Jen. I’m forwarding this once more- this time to young woman very special to our family who lost her mom to suicide in December and then her maternal grandmother to Covid less than 2 weeks later.
You help more people than you’ll ever know.
Oh Jen, how perfectly, perfectly said. Your ability to put words to both fears and hope is a gift that keeps on giving I am beyond grateful to have you to lean on and listen to…
Excellent and precisely right. While I miss him; I am also grateful. Grateful for so many things we shared and the ways he impacted my life. I am who I am because of the 35 years we invested in one another. And, I miss him.
I love this!
Thank you Diane. I am so very sorry for the compounded grief this young woman has endured. I hope she finds some comfort in this article and know she must in your support.
Thank you Jody xoxo
You miss him and your life is richer for having shared 35 years with him. May his memory bring light to your life as you remember him well.
Thank you, I am so glad.
Thx for your words.
I’m nearly living 3 years with the pain of grieve. Most of the times fighting against my thoughts and Feelings and grieve. It makes me feel human again to read words from others who have similar experiences.. it helps me not to see myself as psychological ill.
I often feel Like an Idiot or a looser. But truly, grieving is naturally and the price you pay for love. Without love… We are giving up ourselfs as human beings.
Wish you all the best.. enjoy Life whenever its possible.
Grieve is the toughest and it puts yourself to another dimension in living conciousness and to respect Life with all its faces – If you Accept your grieve…
Grief is a normal and healthy response to loss. How you grieve is personal. Do not judge yourself instead connect to compassion and patience.