How do we deal with grief?

I think about my 99 year old grandmother who passed away a year and a half ago…. She and I had a deep love for each other and would always joke that we were kindred spirits. I could see the spirit that was beyond her eyes- ageless and genderless. (If anything, inside she was an 11 boy considering the practical jokes she played!) I’ll never forget when I said to her at the ripe age of 96, “Mima, I’ll always remember how you and I went swimming together 10 years ago and that will always be a special memory for me.” Her response was, “Well then Beck we must go this week!” That was just who she has always been- up for anything and full of surprises.

I imagined the grief would overcome me and be endless and yet that was not the case. When she passed away, I kept reading Rumi’s poem The Guesthouse: visualizing grief as a visitor knocking at the door. This guest would knock randomly and unexpectedly too, as grief often comes in waves. I could choose to avoid my guest but he would just knock louder until I would let him in. So I welcomed him and surrendered fully to the experience of grief. Through that experience, I awakened to the truth that pure love exists beyond time and space and that my grandmother now actually lived within me. Little things that I noticed that she would do, I caught myself doing, like making up songs to sing and bringing humor more fully into life… the best parts of her were within me. When I really grasped that not only in my head but in my heart, the grief disappeared. She’s has been as close to me as my own beating heart.

So if this is a time of grief for you on any level, how can you allow yourself to let go into the grief and trust the process of healing? Perhaps its giving yourself 30 minutes or an hour per day to really be present to the grief. What qualities of your loved one can you now see in yourself? How can you channel that grief energy into something useful or a way to honor their life?




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