Love and Grief

It has taken me a lifetime to understand the relationship between these two.

The first time I recall experiencing profound grief was in my 30s, when a dear friend moved away. The physical heartache I felt was new, and I wasn’t really sure what to call it. I ached for her company, not realizing I was grieving the loss of her presence in my life.

When my father died, I was in my 30s. The physical ache was almost unbearable, and I lacked the words to explain it to my three young children. There was an unfillable void in my life, and I wasn’t yet sure how to process it. My faith brought me comfort, but I still wandered through the physical feelings. It was the first time I understood the meaning of ‘heartache.’

Years later I lost my mother, and the pain returned in a more profound way. I don’t need to explain that pain to anyone who has lost their mother, and I can’t explain it to anyone who hasn’t. I muddled through the stages of mourning in a bit of a fog, accepting each one without really understanding it.

But it was when my husband was deployed for a year with the military that I gained the needed perspective on love and grief. One of my boys was crying because he missed his dad. I started to cry, too, and soon the four of us were huddled together, crying and comforting simultaneously. I remember the words clearly because they changed me. I commented that there are some families who wouldn’t be sad if their dad went away for a year. “Aren’t we lucky that we love each other so much that it hurts when we’re apart.”

For the first time I understood that the pain I had experienced before was grief.

It was then that I realized that love and grief are felt in equal measure.

Since that day I embrace grief. I am grateful that my life is so rich and full of love that the loss of something or someone hurts.

I remind myself that there are people who don’t feel that.

And I let the tears fall.


3 thoughts on “Love and Grief

  1. Tambi

    Lisha, I still have not grieved the enormous loss of my mother, father, grandmother(best friend ever), my mom’s sister (and my Godmother) and the man child that was my uncle, Godfather and parts of our DNA in past lives. I truly loved him more than I loved life. When each one passed, I realized my family and my life would never be the same. But I was supposed to be the “strong” sister. So I folded all my feelings and put them in a little box inside my brain and shoved it waaaay in the back of my brain. That box is still there and it’s begun to want out. I can’t do it because I know if I start, I’ll never stop. That scares me to death. I will do my best to keep it where it is and convince myself that I’ll never have to deal with it. I have loved you and admired you from the day I met you. I’ve tried to emulate you but it’s a very pale version of you. Just know you are always in my thoughts even if we haven’t connected in awhile. Your piece was beautiful and moving. It’s a testament in that it led me to tell you something I’ve never told anyone else. Always remember that you’re loved and I miss you since we haven’t seen each other because of COVID.

  2. Greg Alexander

    Reminds me of one of my favorite passages from The Prophet, by Kahlil Gibran

    Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
    And he answered:
    Your joy is your sorrow unmasked.
    And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was oftentimes filled with your tears.
    And how else can it be?
    The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.
    Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven?
    And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
    When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy.
    When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.


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