Tag Archives: good days bad days

What is Grief?

Robin Botie of Ithaca, New York, photoshops borders around a banyan tree with hugging, intertwining branches.After life, as I knew it, got shot to the stars, grief charred me from the inside out. There were good days and bad days. I sometimes forgot my sadness. Briefly. Other times, for days, I’d be cranky and complain, “I can’t do this. I hate this. This is too hard.”

“Can we talk in terms of solutions rather than problems?” a wise friend asked, when she saw me struggling on a bad day. Then she said, “Keep coming back to what you love,” and I almost cried. Because to me, that meant coming back to my daughter who died. Everyone else was telling me, “It’s time to move on.” If grief was something to “get over” or “get through,” I was failing miserably. So to hear that I could come back, was to understand that there is no time limit on mourning the loss of a loved one. It allowed me to slowly get used to my shaken world. It allowed that my grieving might never be completely done.

Can we think of grief as something more than pain and suffering? It’s been more gently defined as love’s unwillingness to let go, the price of love, or love with nowhere to go. Holding tight to our loved one’s memory and spirit, when we grieve we are expressing our love.

Grief is also the slow redefining of our relationship with the one we love who died. It is the effort to rebuild around the giant hole they leave in our lives. We can choose to weave the emotional bond, the memory, their values and voice into a new way of carrying them with us.

And maybe grief is, now and forever, a part of your story. A part of who you are. One more layer in the trillions of layers that shape you. Maybe it’s a small spark of transformation and growth. For all that has happened, for all the heartache of my loss, I am a better person now.


How has grieving changed you? Or is recent grief still scorching you from the inside out?

Share Button