The pain of grief is just as much part of life as the joy of love: it is perhaps the price we pay for love, the cost of commitment. To ignore this fact, or to pretend that it is not so, is to put on emotional blinkers which leave us unprepared for the losses that will inevitably occur in our own lives and unprepared to help others cope with losses in theirs.” – Dr. Colin Murray Parkes

I recently asked a client who has been struggling for years with the loss of his wife this question: If I had a machine that could take away your memories of your wife would you do it?  If you didn’t have those memories, then you wouldn’t be missing her and be in pain. He of course said no. I would imagine this would be the answer we would all give.

Why do we grieve? It is because we have lost someone near to our hearts.  When you care about someone deeply, you are never ready to give them up. The people that have had little or no impact on our lives give us limited grief when they pass away. When we are in the midst of grief we can take consolation in the fact that we have had a special person in our lives that has changed us and had an impact on us. We can celebrate their memories and what they have taught us in life.  There are many people in this world who would be jealous to have those moment with someone that we have been privileged to experience with this person.

Many of us do this already. We tell stories about our loved ones and things they have taught us. We use their recipes and talk about how they used to make these foods on certain occasions. (For my family, it is my grandmother’s tea cookies and we always laugh about how she always burnt the bottoms of them.) We tell their jokes and laugh at their craziness. We are bringing them back into our lives and allowing them to live through us. We recognize how our lives have been changed and been better because of them. We acknowledge ways that they made us a better person through their knowledge and example.

Now do not get me wrong I am not saying that grief is easy or we need to feel bad for experiencing it. This is about helping us get a new perspective of our grief to help us get through it a little easier. If we can see things in a new light maybe it will be a little more tolerable. We all experience grief and we all struggle through it. It is part of life. We grieve because a space in our lives is empty and no one else can replace it.  We grieve because that person we counted on for so many things is no longer there and we must find the strength and courage to keep going.

Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.”
Flavia Weedn

Do not be afraid to take risks of loving someone. We can play it safe and never get hurt but then we would miss out on the joys, laughter, wisdom, and growth.