Grief and Love

23 03 2009

I attended a funeral service on Saturday for a precious older couple that were killed in an auto accident this past week.  A very sad incident indeed and my heart goes out to the family.  I thought as I watched the two caskets being wheeled down the isle of the church, how unique to be able to leave this earthly life together; yet difficult for the family to lose both a mother and father at the same time.

Something was said by the minister leading the service that caught my attention; I wrote it down.  He said, “when you experience grief, you’re experiencing love, because you loved them so much.”  That may seem like an elementary truth about loss, but his words stuck with me.  While I understand a number of the dynamics of grief and loss, I’ve never really considered the feeling of grief to be associated with experiencing love.  I usually don’t expect to feel pain as part of love, but I suppose it is part of the risk of loving; that we may lose something we hold dear.  To feel the pain is to come to grips with our loss of someone we loved (and still love).  I guess you could call grief an equal-opportunity emotion; it knows no gender, race, or socio-economic status.  Personally, I would rather feel the warm, tingly feelings and emotions and skip the other, but in reality we cannot have one without the possibility of the other. 

Grief is the evidence of how we have loved; the pain we feel is the longing of love for the object of its affections.   In one sense it is the salve of the soul that is part of our human design; grief begins it’s process of bringing healing.  If you don’t fully allow yourself the time to “feel” these emotions, you’ll short-circuit the body’s natural mending mechanism.

So the question is; how do you process loss?  What is your natural reaction to grief and pain…do you stuff it or deny it?  Or do you give yourself the time to actually feel the emotion and work through it?  The sooner you allow yourself to experience that intense feeling of loss (and believe me, we’ll do anything we can to evade it), the sooner you can begin the process of moving along with life in a healthy manner.  And yes, it is more easily said than accomplished.  How true the saying, “grief is hard work.”  But it is part of the experience of love.

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3 responses

23 03 2009
Cindy Holman

This is true – I remember saying something similar to this in one of my blogs – experiencing pain with love means that we loved deeply and that’s meaningful somehow to us – pain and love together make the emotion have substance – and not just a shallow fleeting feeling. I love that – when I experience that kind of emotion surrounding grief – it means I loved deeply – and that makes it meaningful to me. Great thoughts.

18 08 2009
brianfulthorp

“when you experience grief, you’re experiencing love, because you loved them so much.”

wow!

22 09 2009
Greg Holman

Thanks for the comment Brian; much appreciated!

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