Another post from two years ago. Just some contemplations on grief and love and loss, possibly written in the aftermath of my sister’s death.
Loss may be the one great constant in our lives. For some of us perhaps a more prevalent theme than for others.
Loss may be the generater of a deep soul search for sources of meaning beyond that which was lost and the lost thing becomes the catalyst for that journey.
To engage with loss deeply may be a painful right of passage that leads us to gratitude for that which we have not lost and yet take for granted on a daily basis.
Loss sharpens our awareness of the fragility and temporary nature of life, of its impermanence and so a powerful Buddhist practice is to contemplate both our own death and the death of others so that we may more fully live and love with an open heart.
Loss may bring grief which can only be generated by love, love for what is lost and what we valued so dearly. So we should be saddened by a culture or person who can show no grief or who is barricaded against such grief, the capacity for love may thereby be diminished.
Better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all?
Some may disagree but if it is true in that case better to have grieved well and deeply for such grief is a measure of the love that was felt and one should never feel ashamed to express it.
Having in the past been shamed for expressions of grief by people who I now see were limited in the capacity for depth of feeling and empathy it has been so healing lately to have been reminded of the connection between grief and love. And to know that being human means having a wide range of feelings that others will find either acceptable or not acceptable.
When we exile the grieving person because we fear the darkness within we diminish our culture. I once heard a wonderful lecture by an expert on grief. It was while I was undergoing my own painful passage following the end of my marriage, it was shared with me by someone staying in the same retreat centre. It spoke of a culture in which grief was recognised as the main issue for someone falling down drunk in the street, in this culture the person was taken in given food, comfort, understanding and love. They were not shunned.
It is already difficult enough to be grieving, let us not compound that grief further by exiling the grieving person. Let us give grief a place so that deep pain is not so deeply internalised and turned into a bitter poison that gives rise to further suffering.