Today is my birthday, a time for celebration, happiness and being showered with love by those around me. It’s beautiful. As I have experienced more years on this planet and more of the interwoven tapestry of life I have realised how closely happiness and sadness live to each other. How love and loss are two sides of the same coin. On the happiest of days, like a birthday, wedding or new baby being born, we cannot help but be reminded of those we wish were still near.
This is not meant to be morbid, quite the opposite; being utterly present with what is, it is undeniable how love does not exist without loss from a human perspective. Any and everything we love will be at some point lost to our human selves, in the most extreme sense one or other will eventually die, with so many other types of loss in between.
From a universal perspective there is no loss, and love is unlimited; we are all love and whether our relationships change or one of us dies, our love continues infinitely. But our sweet human selves struggle deeply with loss and grief, my understanding is that grief is love with no where to go. As we travel through this life, love and loss are going to be our carriage mates, without doubt. So how do we move through and integrate these experiences?
The only piece of advice I am going to share is this; FEEL YOUR EMOTIONS. Feel them all, let them exist in you, let them move through you, let them devastate you when you are devastated, let them lift you higher than you could ever imagine when you are joyful. I know how scary and painful it can be, and how much we might want to escape those feelings by abandoning and numbing ourselves. Brene Brown, excellent author and researcher, did a Ted Talk in which she talked about the extreme version of any emotion, good or bad, is what triggers addicts to fall off the wagon. Isn’t that interesting? That really feeling the depth of our love AND loss feels just as uncomfortable to us. Which is why we see alcohol as the societal norm for all happy and sad occasions; why people get so drunk at weddings and at funerals. Different sides of the same coin.
There is no judgement for numbing, we have all done it in some way or another, at times it may even be essential. However I have learnt that when we allow our hard feelings to truly be felt, at an appropriate time, it hurts but there is hope and connection, and when we suppress and numb our feelings there is despair and disconnection.
This subject is on my mind as I have lost a most beloved soul in my life recently. At his memorial I adapted a poem, of unknown origin, which I would like to share with you in the hope these words may soothe you too in times of grief….
Am always with you
When I am gone, release me, let me go. I am safe and happy, I want you to know. You mustn’t tie yourself to me with too many tears, but be thankful we had such wonderful years. I gave you my love and you can only guess, how much you gave to me in happiness. I thank you for the love that you have shown, but now it’s time I travelled on alone. So grieve for me a while if grieve you must, then let your grief be comforted by trust, that it is only for a while that we must part, so treasure our memories within your heart. I won’t be far away for life goes on, and if you need me call and I will come. Though you can’t see or touch me I will be near, and if you listen with your heart you’ll hear, all my love around you soft and clear. And when the perfect time comes for us to meet again, our hearts will whisper ‘I know you’ once again.