Grief Is

Grief is more than just a constellation of feelings in response to a loss. Grief does not fade with the passage of time. We do not realize our losses in an instant; we realize them over years. We do not get over it, but instead go through it, not just once, but as many times as we do. Through grief we honor our losses and weave them into tapestries of our lives so we can stay connected with all we have loved and still continue to live on at the same time. We do not honor the dead with funerals alone; we honor them with our lives. Like love, grief is timeless. Like love, you cannot predict exactly how and when grief will manifest.

Grief changes form and eludes definition.

Grief is physical.

Grief sits on your chest, punches you in the gut, squeezes your throat, winds everything up breaking-point tight, and sucks the energy out of you.

Grief is holding your breath, or breathing fast and shallow like a scared rabbit.

Grief is lazy and lethargic.

Grief is exhaustion that cannot sleep, hunger that cannot eat, and tears that will not dry.

Grief makes you feel weak, hollow, and threadbare.

Grief is clenching your teeth until you have a headache that will not go away.

Grief is feeling rundown and getting sick over and over again.

Grief is feeling so lousy all the time that you cannot tell whether you are sick or depressed.

Grief is a field of fog and distance where we wander lost and aimless.

Grief is unexpected composure, lucidness, and productivity that seem out of place.

Grief is rejecting the notion that someone is dead.

Grief is a calm sullen silence, a vacuum into which we withdraw.

Grief is forgetting and then remembering again that someone is really dead.

Grief is not being able to think about anything else.

Grief is dreaming about your loved one.

Grief is feeling their presence, seeing their face, hearing their voice-even though they are dead-or being frustrated because we cannot.

Grief is a protest, a temper tantrum, a refusal to give up without a fight over something that is already gone.

Grief is an intense negotiation over events that have already happened, a barrage of what-if”s and if-only”s.

Grief is a hope turned backwards in time.

Grief is yelling at the beautiful sunrise because it means time is abandoning your loved one.

Grief is a plea to undo what cannot be undone.

Grief is rejected offerings and ungranted prayers.

Grief is retracing the steps that led our loved one from this world.

Grief is wanting to bear witness to and comfort the pain and suffering they experienced.

Grief is feeling guilty because we did not stop death, could not revert death, and cannot change death.

Grief is an accountability session.

Grief is damage control.

Grief is knowing we do not deserve to be alive any more than our loved one deserves to be dead.

Grief is wondering why fate chose them and not us.

Grief is feeling guilty for moving on, guilty for living, and guilty for enjoying life without them. Is it irreverent to savor the foods they are no longer here to enjoy? Is it disrespectful to have a good belly laugh while mourning?

Grief is a sigh-a reluctant surrender to powers greater than ours.

Grief is a radical depletion of will and inspiration.

Grief is throwing your hands up into the air and collapsing onto the floor into despair.

Grief is unabashedly wailing and drowning in your own snot and tears.

Grief is an inventory of what has been lost.

Grief is a dim spotlight that illuminates the void where a life once was.

Grief is a fear that life is all there is and it is not enough.

Grief is fear of living with the loss and losing more.

Grief clings to what we love as if every good-bye is the last. The imagination has a field day turning every early morning or late night phone call into a death notice and every rush-hour delay into a fatal accident.

Grief is examining every relationship, turning it upside down, considering its loss, and mourning it, before we venture to engage more deeply.

Grief is choosing to endure loneliness and despair over facing the fear of further loss.

Grief is coming to terms with the fact that we will all die someday whether we share life or experience it alone.

Grief is the identity crisis that ensues when we lose those who help define who we are, how we live, and how we relate to one another. And now that they are gone, are we still the person they helped define? How do we live? How do we relate? Certainly not the same. How can I be a best friend if my best friend is dead? How can I be a big sister if my little brother is dead? How can I be a mother if I have no children left? How can I be a son after my father dies? What am I to be instead?

Grief is an influx of freedom to re-create the self as old expectations of who we once were fade.

Grief is sometimes a vow to fulfill wishes of the dead.

Grief is panning through memories over and over searching for jewels.

Grief is believing every pebble is a gem.

Grief is celebration.

Grief is saying thank you.

Grief is admitting that there was no gold in the pan.

Grief is a confession of regrets.

Grief is saying you are forgiven or forgive me.

Grief is saying God forgive you because I can’t.

Grief is saying screw you for leaving me.

Grief is turning ordinary objects-a hairbrush, a note, a pin- into Sacred vestiges.

Grief is a moment frozen in time-a dead child”s bedroom that will never be cleaned, a shirt that will never be washed, or a message on the answering machine that will never be erased.

Grief is talking about your loved one again and again and choosing to ignore those that roll their eyes.

Grief is avoiding the reminders and trying to forget.

Grief is clinging to the reminders and trying to remember more.

Grief is recalling special moments and crying.

Grief is being able to remember the special moments and smile instead of crying.

Grief is having a friend of your loved one pay a visit and realizing after they leave that there was more to your loved one than you ever knew.

Grief is being inspired to carry out the acts of beauty and kindness that your loved one is no longer here to deliver.

Grief is buying lunch for the homeless man you normally ignore and sitting with him to eat because you know it is something your loved one would have done.

Grief is understanding your loved one more by being more like them.

Grief is understanding that you can still get to know someone even after they are dead.

Grief is wondering where your loved one really is and if they can see you, hear you, or read your mind.

Grief is waving or calling to them just in case.

Grief is forging signs and symbols to replace the words you can no longer share.

Grief is knowing the rainbow that should now scientifically exist on a cloudy day is a message to you saying “I exist.”

Grief is hearing that special song on the radio and knowing your loved one is with you.

Grief is sitting in bed crying in the middle of the night saying God I miss you. Please, if you are there, give me a sign and hearing a bird sing a happy tune in the darkness and knowing that song was your answer.

Grief is discovering pieces of what was lost in places you do not expect.

Grief is looking at the sunset and knowing it is extra beautiful because your loved one is a part of it and a part of Creation than the scope of your contemplation.

Grief is grasping opportunities to connect, to share, and to care that you might have otherwise left for tomorrow because you are ever mindful now that there may be no tomorrow.

Grief is being able to distinguish better what is really important and meaningful after all is said and done and choosing to do more of it.

Grief is the yearning, the reaching, and the unrequited love that hides behind our losses.

Grief is a tribute to the depth of your love.

~ Author Unknown