“Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go” ~ Jamie Anderson
There have been many times in my life that I have had to go through the grieving process I have lost friends, family and my own child. And it is something everyone must go through in their own way.
I have found a way to help the process. A way that I look at it that still comes with pain but is a process that I consciously follow when the need arrives.
I remember as a young adult having the first of our high school friends die in a motorbike accident. This was the first experience of grief and I had no idea how to handle it. Neil was one of my best buddies. He was always getting into trouble of some kind. I remember having to use white out once to cover over yellow paint on his hands so he wouldn’t get caught for the graffiti in the shelter shed at our high school. A fun loving ratbag. He was killed on his motorbike just after we left high school and to this day I still think about him. It took me years and a really weird dream to get me over that experience.
The dream is also still something that I remember vividly. Neil came to me in a dream and said that I had to let him go for him to be at peace. This was about 6 yrs after he had died. It was so vivid, so real. Now I know what our brains are able to do and how they can trick us so I don’t believe it was a message from beyond, well not now anyway, perhaps when it happened I believed that.
What I do think is that some times I get great advice from tuning into this source of dream information. And this was not about letting Neil be at peace but about me being able to let him go and come to some kind of peace myself.
My beautiful friend Fi died way before her time. I still think of her especially when I hear the song “Don’t you forget about me” by simple minds. How I dealt with her death was very different. I knew that if it had been me that I would not want my friends to be in pain from my death and I knew that Fi would have thought the same. So, I vowed to myself that I would keep all the memories and love that was Fi and live every day to the best that I could, because that is what she would have wanted me to do. I decided to keep her memory alive in how I lived my life and to never take a day still breathing for granted. I still miss my friend so much and would love to have just one more day with her, but I know that is impossible, so I honour her and keep her memory alive instead.
Because of this everyone I touch it also changed. Because the way I look at the world is shaped by this experience as well as many others.
Grief has no time lines and everyone needs to work out on their own what works for them.
The heaviest grief I have ever felt was the loss of my baby girl Lana. She was born 16 weeks premature and survived for only 11 days. She was a fighter but simply didn’t make it. I was lucky to have been able to get to know her for those 11 days. She taught me that having a successful pregnancy and birth was something special and to be grateful for the child that I already had. I was lucky enough to go on to have 2 more children after her death but I think about her all the time. Her death took me to a very dark place that I didn’t think I would be able to come back from. I had to find a way because I had a 1yr old that needed me so my grief and depression was turned around because I knew others needed me.
I try to find positive ways to reframe death now. When my dad died, I knew he was physically gone but to this day I can still hear his voice in my head when I am doing things. I always knew what advice he would give me before he would give it. His values and beliefs run through me and my family so I know he is gone but he still walks with me every day.
Everyone that you love that dies leaves a little piece of themselves in your heart, mind and soul. You never get over grief, but you do find a way to live with it. It does become your choice as to how you move forward. It becomes your choice how you honour the memory. But do take your time to grieve and adapt. It’s not a process that can be rushed.