Sometimes I close my eyes, and I’m there again, in the apartment we once shared. The room is small, with wood floors, a white couch, and books neatly arranged along the shelves. The air is still. It’s just me there, and I can feel the beat of my heart, hear the sound of my breath.
It’s times like these that I realize that grief never really ends. For me, grief has been like a tide, ebbing and flowing — sometimes with greater and lesser frequency, but always there, always returning.
In these moments, I remind myself that it’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to feel sad and to remember the things that once were. Grief is a sign of love. And at the end of it all, what are we meant to do in this life if but to love, to grow in it and in spirit?
In moments like this, I’m also reminded that some bonds are hard to break, even across time and space. Loved ones are with us in different ways. Sometimes this fact can be painful as we consider our loss, but on the other side of this emotion, perhaps there is also a comfort that we still remember, that we still love.
If you enjoyed this post, you might also find my book, Grieving the Loss of a Love: How to Embrace Grief to Find True Hope and Healing After a Divorce, Breakup, or Death helpful.
The quote in this post was originally posted by user GSnow on Reddit in a thread in which a woman asked for advice on how to cope with the recent death of her best friend. It’s one of the best descriptions of grief that I’ve ever read. When I connected with GSnow, he said that he’s been contacted over the years by so many people who have been touched by his response — people have asked to feature it on TV and t-shirts and everything, which was a surprise to him, as he was simply posting from his experience and heart. I’ve posted it here in case you find it helpful in your own experience and journey with grief.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven (Ecclesiastes 3: 1).
Sometimes we may feel discouraged, and feel as if life as we have known it is over. What lies ahead? We live in fear that our best days are behind us, that we have failed and made mistakes, that there is nothing to be done now, nothing that can turn back time and get us back to a place of what once was. In our darkest of moments, we wonder if there was a point to any of this suffering. What is life if it involves pain and grief like this? Life feels empty and meaningless. We feel like giving up.
It has been 3 years since my initial experience with grief and loss and though many people told me that time would heal, it didn’t make each day easier. Although time heals, it takes a commitment to wake up each day and to make it through to the next day even when your mind, body, and spirit are crushed. At some point this process of living in the face of grief becomes easier, and you find yourself feeling joy and contentment again, even with the pain that is there. It’s like learning how to walk all over again, but this time with a broken leg.
You are loved. You are beautiful. You are worthy. You’re not perfect, but you’re not your mistakes. Perhaps you’ve made them. Big ones. But that’s okay. We all do. Forgive yourself and use it as the soil for growth, for compassion for yourself and compassion for others when they make mistakes.
I read somewhere that sometimes life involves two mountains. The first mountain is the one you start off in life climbing. You ascend it, thinking that this is what life is about — your career, money, stability, achievement, making your parents proud, worthiness, etc.
Know this — you are loved. You are worthy and beautiful in every way. You don’t have to be anyone other than who you are. You’ve made mistakes, just as we all have. You’ve said things you wish you could take back. You’re not perfect. But you’re none of these mistakes.
There is a light inside you. Let it grow and shine. Sometimes it’s long forgotten. We haven’t connected with it given the busyness of our days. Other times, we have allowed the world to tell us that it is not there and never was.
It’s strange how time passes — how after the unthinkable occurs, life goes on. The sun rises and falls. Flowers bloom. Trees rustle in the wind. There is an eeriness to it and in the beginning it is tempting to stay lost in this space.
There is a light within you. No darkness can overcome it. Sometimes this light is loud and vibrant. Other times such as in places of grief and loss, it is quiet — silent almost. A thread.
It’s different for everyone, but for me, grief was like walking through the valley of a shadow of death: a place where I walked and walked with seemingly no hope — just darkness and shadows and the faintest of light.