My father-in-law sent this quote to me a few days ago. When I was listening to a teleconference on complicated grief yesterday, it came to mind…strongly. One telling sign of complicated grief is intense emotionality after the passage of significant time. I’m not a ‘time heals all wounds’ kind of girl, but there is something different that happens to our grief over time. Sometimes folks are stuck in their grief for longer than might be expected…by themselves and/or a counselor. There are a number of different reasons for this, but the one related to this poem is what popped into my head yesterday.
Sometimes, people are afraid to let go of some of the pain of the grief because they feel it is a betrayal of the person they loved and lost. That by not feeling intense pain it might mean they didn’t really love that person or they don’t really miss that person. Or it could mean that if they don’t feel the pain intensely then that person didn’t really have any impact on their life or the world. So we hang on to it. We are fearful of living a life apart from the grief. We are hesitant to find joy and purpose and meaning.
Moving on and building a life separate from your person does not mean that you have forgotten them. It means that you have carved out a special place in your heart where they will reside. The relationship moves from the outside to the inside. You will always love them. You will always miss them. But you don’t have to hold on to the pain of the grief to demonstrate that. You can open that door and step outside.
Copyright 2014 Lisa B. Wolfe, Translating Grief, LLC