If Love were a coin, then its flipside would be Loss.
Many of us will be familiar with the quote from a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892):
“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
Some may choose to argue with this quote and say that it’s better to never love at all, so that we may never suffer the pain of loss.
For those who are fortunate to be blessed with knowing that wonderful unconditional and undemanding love, the loss of it is all the more devastating. This kind of love and loss can be rivalled only by the loss of a child.
But, if we never come to know that depth of unconditional love which we find in a soulmate, somehow we seem the poorer for it. With that kind of love, and the loss of it, comes wisdom and appreciation in all things.
The Human Condition
Death is part of The Human Condition and the final destination of our journey through mortal life.
Consider the circle of life: we go through our lives losing the ones we love until, one day, those we love lose us.
As we grow older we become better acquainted with bereavement, loss, grief and sorrow. I’ve heard it said many a-time that, we know we’re getting older when more of our socialising is carried out at funeral wakes than birthday parties. Never a truer word said!
Grief Is A Teacher
We should never try to forget or remove our grief. Grief informs us in life; it prepares us for our next loss, and for the future stages of our life’s journey.
Grief is deeply personal. Each of us creates our own reality – formed from our life experiences. Each of these is personal. No two people will possess the same reality; therefore, how we deal with grief is individual and personal in accordance with our own reality.
There is no time limit on our grief. In ages past, for example, a widow might have been expected to wear black for 6-12 months, after which time society would have considered her ready and expected her to not only return to normal life, but take another husband.
But, this is as unrealistic in history as it would be today. We cannot place a time limit on our grief.
In some cases we may never cease grieving; we learn to live with our loss and the pain of that loss will ease with time. Then, one day, we may hear a piece of music, smell an aroma, experience something familiar which reminds us of the loved one we lost, and the intervening time will dissipate like steam and it will seem like only yesterday that they left us.
Grief is unpredictable. We can only ride its waves as it dictates.
Allow Time for Reflection and Celebration
But, grief can and will eventually give way to allow for happier memories to return and for us to celebrate the life of the one we loved. We’re able to talk about that loved one without the automatic flow of tears; we can laugh at a funny memory without feeling guilt at the laughter; we can continue to love the one we lost without feeling the burden of that loss.
The reality we create for ourselves in life forms our perception of life after death.
What is Heaven? Does it exist? Is there a Hell? What is it like?
Is Hell not just the rigours of mortal life, and Heaven our reward for our daily suffering?
Are we energy in a flesh and blood shell? And, when that shell ceases to function, are we released to a realm of peace, freedom and serenity?
The quote at the head of this blog from the late Steve Jobs caught my attention. I like to think that, at that precise moment he was seeing a vision of the next life and what lay ahead for him. I like to think that, he could see immense wonders, beauty and colours, and the loved ones who had passed before him, awaiting his arrival.
I offer here just one vision of death, bereavement, loss and grief. This is my vision. Yours may be entirely different, but and as I said earlier, this is based on our individual reality created from our experience and imagination.
We have the ability to alter that reality any time we wish – such is the immense power of our imagination. All that we create begins in our imagination.
And, it’s your imagination that will create your perceptions and your reality, in turn informing your experience of bereavement and grief.
No one can tell you how to grieve. Only you know when you’re ready to move on to your next stage of life.
But, beware spending too long in Grief, when there is so much more in Life for you to enjoy!