Creating Space to Remember and Cherish Our Loved Ones
Death ends a life, not a relationship, because as long as we continue to remember them and love them, they don’t ever go away. And even though we can't see or hear them, they live on within us every day - still loved, still missed, and very dear.
The experience of losing a loved one can be one of the most painful and difficult moments in a person's life. The loss of someone special and close to you, be that a friend, partner, or family member is devastating. The grief that accompanies such a loss is a complex and often confusing process that can take time to navigate. However, allowing yourself to go through it is essential in order to honor and celebrate the life of the loved one who has passed away.
I want to take the opportunity today to, not only remember those who have passed and are not able to be with us on this day, but to also to explain why the grief process is important in helping you to honor and celebrate the life of your lost loved one.
Grief is a natural response to death or loss and it is essential because it allows you to come to terms with the loss. Losing a loved one can be a shock to the system, and it can take time to fully comprehend the impact of the loss. The grief process allows you to confront your emotions, process your feelings, and eventually come to terms with the reality of the loss. It's important to let yourself go through this process so you can start to feel better, move forward, and heal.
According to Neil Donald Walsh, author of Conversations with God, in book 3, he says that grief is a natural emotion, it is that part of you which allows you to say goodbye when you don’t want to say goodbye; to express, push out, or propel the sadness within you at the experience of any kind of loss. It could be the loss of a loved one or the loss of a meaningful personal item. When you allow yourself to express your grief, you begin to get rid of it.
Neil says that children who are allowed to be sad when they’re sad, feel very healthy about sadness when they’re adults; and therefore, are usually able to move through their sadness very quickly. Children that were told, “there, there, don’t cry”, have a hard time crying as adults. After all, they’ve been told all their life not to do that. So they repressed their grief.
He adds that grief that has been repressed for a long period of time becomes chronic depression - a very unnatural emotion. People have killed because of chronic depression, wars have started, and nations have fallen. The model of behavior for centuries on this planet has been to not indulge your emotions. If you’re feeling grief, get over it; if you’re feeling angry, stuff it; if you’re feeling envious, be ashamed of it; if you’re feeling fear, rise above it; if you’re feeling love, control it, limited it, wait with it, run from it - do whatever you have to do to stop yourself from expressing it.
Grief not only can help you to come to terms with the loss, but by allowing yourself to feel the feelings, you can make space within yourself to be able to honor and celebrate the life of your loved one. You get the chance to reflect on the memories you shared with them, celebrate their life, and acknowledge their impact on you and those around them. This can be done through various means, such as holding a memorial service, creating a tribute or memory book, or simply taking time to share stories and memories about them with loved ones. By honoring and celebrating their life, you are able to keep their memory alive and continue to cherish and love them.
Grief can also help you to find peace. By going through the various stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance (which by the way, it comes in waves and not necessarily in that order) - you’re able to gain a deeper understanding of your loss and come to a place of acceptance. This can bring a sense of peace within yourself that helps you to move forward in a healthier way, making it easier for you to be able to honor and celebrate the life of your loved one.
Grief can also help you to build resilience. Going through the loss of a loved one can be an incredibly difficult experience, but by allowing yourself to navigate through those difficult feelings, you are able to develop coping mechanisms and a sense of emotional resilience that can help you to better navigate future challenges and losses, while maintaining a sense of connection to your lost loved one.
Grief doesn’t end, it is an ongoing process, but it is an integral part of your healing journey and it can help you make space to honor and celebrate the life of your lost loved one. When you allow yourself to navigate the complex emotions and stages of grief, you’ll be able to come to terms with the loss, honor and celebrate their life, find peace, and build resilience. While the process can be a difficult and painful one, it is ultimately the only way to move forward after the loss of a loved one.
Remember: Acknowledge and feel your feelings, find support, and allow time for grief to work.