Grief never ends….but it changes. It’s a passage, not a place to stay.
Grief is neither a sign of weakness, nor a lack of faith…it’s the price of love.
In general the world’s society believes that when a person dies they are gone period…those who are grieving for that person are encouraged to believe that there is no connection to their loved one, so they need to stop grieving, thinking , and loving that person.
But the truth is that the one we loved is gone PHYSICALLY, the love and memory we have for that person remains with us and will last forever. No one can take that away from us.
We have been given the gift of love and memory and therefore we will preserve the love and the memory while continuing the task of grieving. This is called “reconciliation”; learning to live without the physical presence but with the love and memory as we move into our future lives.
The reality is that we never lose the connection with the person we loved. The connection is no longer a physical one, but it remains strong. It is a connection that is experienced in many ways. One of the ways is memory. At times, memories may flood into our life…”.every time I see a beautiful sunset I think of my Dad…he loved taking pictures of them.”Legacies that the person left also keep us connected. Their career and those family members that followed in their footsteps; the recipe that Mom left for the holiday dinners. Sometime legacies may be objects that the person left; a wedding ring, a special collection of art or crafts. There may be other connections as well. Who we are is an enduring connection. All the people who were a part of their lives leave a connection to them with memories. There may be rituals or events we use to keep a connection. Christmas rituals: lighting candles, decorating the tree with special ornaments used by our loved one or going to church on Christmas Eve. Then there are anniversaries, birthdays, and other special days to celebrate and remember our loved one with a ritual.
Early in our grief these connections may make us sad; over time feelings are likely to be more mixed. Memories may now comfort, looking at old pictures or telling stories that remind us may make us laugh. Though they remind us of what was lost, they also affirm what remains.
Are these connections ever a problem? They can be when they slow our grief journey and we fail to acknowledge the death. But when connections allow, even encourage us to grow, they are not a problem. Then they remind us of all the things we did and can never lose.
Compiled by Carole McLeod, Grief Matters
Some of the article was used from “Keeping Connections” by Kenneth Doka.