Learning to live with your scars
There is a belief that grief ends. That we go through some process of grieving and emerge at the end with our grief ended.
My question to those of you who are grieving is: Do you want to come to a day when the person you love does not matter any more?
I don’t know anyone who answers yes to that question.
The reality is, if we loved someone we will always miss them. There will always be pain at their loss. They will always be part of our life. They will always matter. For that reason the pain will always be there.
But I also know people who want the pain to end.
I can tell people that the acute pain will some day be transformed into something more manageable. There will still be pain, especially on special days and times that remind us of the person we loved so much. But the acute pain will subside.
As for the other aspects of grief:
Life will never be the same. There will be a new normal that includes the loss of the person you loved. You will live your life with the memory of what you have lost, with the memory of the person you loved and the grief at them leaving. They will always be part of you and anything you do will be experienced through the lens of that person’s loss.
I have heard people describe the sadness of their loss, their yearning for a day with the person they loved so much and the pain of that loss. I have also heard people talk about their love for the person they lost. I have heard them speak with gratitude of the relationship they had with that person. And I have heard them talk about the happy memories they have of time with that person.
People love to reminisce about the good times. Those reminiscences are important. It is important for families to share these memories too, especially when there are children in the family. Family stories are important for children to learn about themselves and to connect to past generations. Those stories help children feel connected with life and are an important template of connection with society.
Remember the scars on your body that are always there. Grief is like a scar. It is always there. But like a physical scar, it fades over time and you learn to live with it.