I had a tough year with grief, losing three precious people. A couple of others in recent years. It sounds so simple, just written like that, but each one ripped my heart out in different ways.
I have learned that you can't hide from the pain of losing loved ones. Sure you can sometimes suppress the tears, but it really hurts to do that. You have to just be there in it, and be yourself in it through all the ups and downs. It's ok to be you, there is no ideal personality you need to adopt: seek company or solitude, speak up or be quiet, be public or private, grieve fiercely or gently.
Sometimes emotions don't show in the same way and timing as everyone else. We all have our own ways of dealing with these experiences. My grief is sometimes elusive then hits at unexpected times. And that's ok. Even when nothing is ok.
It helps me to write about the impact these people had on others, the ways they made the world a better place, what made them special ... either in a journal or message or a poem I might share.
These reminders of the life cycle make me want to live my life as fully and authentically as possible. One day it will be me being remembered. I don't know what people will say about me, but my heart bursts with love when I read the beautiful tributes people have written about Dave, Nathan, Valda, Eileen and Terry. And my Nanna and Poppy and Poppa before them. Losing them hurts so much, but to not have ever known them is unthinkable.
I hate knowing this won't be the last time we experience the pain of loss. I don't want to think about losing anyone else ever again, but it will happen. This awareness makes me afraid to love deeply, but desperately aware of the need to love with all my heart in every moment. I want to write love letters to everybody I care about, but I can barely address Christmas cards!
It is exhausting and unsustainable to try and be everything to everyone ... I tried it one day and soon discovered it is impossible. It is hard to do the simple things in the days and weeks after you lose someone ... everything seems so trivial in comparison. And yet in the trivial and familiar we also find solace.
Every moment is simultaneously precious and ordinary.
Every day there is so much to be thankful for.
Every person we meet is somebody's beloved.
Every one is loved by the One who created them.
Every day is full of choices, opportunities to love, forgive and encourage.
Every relationship changes us.
Every word and action has an impact.
Every memory is a gift.
Every day the sun rises and we decide how we shall live and love.
Love is all.
Love is the purpose.
Love is why it hurts.
Love is why we risk being hurt.
Love is what makes everything worthwhile.