Of love and loss

Loss is inevitable, it is the way of the world. The utter devastation which is experienced when you lose a loved one, can cause you to want to stop living or at least to never love again. This is because we feel that without love there can be no hurt. Or can there? The loss of a beloved soul, whether human or an animal companion – can hurt so badly that you are convinced your heart will never be whole again. Broken into a million little pieces, shattered beyond repair. Gangrene of the heart.

Emotional pain leads to physical pain, heart palpitations, anxiety attacks, nausea…your eyes hurt from crying, your soul is bruised and the smallest gesture of sympathy can set off a renewed bout of sorrow even when you think there is no more moisture left inside you. You don’t care if your make-up runs in public, you don’t care who sees you bare your soul, you don’t care about showing your vulnerability, you don’t care about anything much, you can’t seem to function normally and do only the most necessary of the tasks you have to do… until someone needs you, and that someone depends on you for survival. Then you pick the broken pieces of your heart up in a bundle, put it under your arm and struggle forth.

One of the worst things for me in my personal sorrow is that the rest of the world, even those people closest to you, do not share your pain. They can’t. But they can try to be supportive, compassionate, non judgmental and kind. If they don’t even care about, show compassion or acknowledge your loss, you should toss them out of your life – for good. Someone once sent me a stupid little picture saying ‘Have a happy day’ after I lost a beloved pet – and that person failed the friend test miserably and instantaneously. Another person had the audacity to say that the loss of a beloved pet is not as important as losing a person. I beg to differ – my pets have meant more to me that most people in my circle. They have given me more love, more joy and more reason to live than any human being.

There are not many things you can do yourself to help you through your pain, especially if you have lost your faith and can’t call on some higher being for support. Some people turn to alcohol, some to solitude, some to music. I personally use music to calm me when angry (Sound of silence by Disturbed  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Dg-g7t2l4 does the trick for me every time) or give me energy…not so much to help my sadness. Sad, intense or deep music can make me even sadder. For me, writing is somewhat of a catharsis. Although it does not diminish the pain, it helps me to express what I feel. Most of that is not for public consumption, but instead a process of release. Some anger is involved, some shouting to a God if he/she even exists, challenging the cruelty and unfairness of life and mourning the personal memories of the beloved one. I will never understand why the good and innocent have to suffer so needlessly. I do not believe that a fair and gracious God can cause or allow so much pain and sorrow.

What also helps the mourning process for me, in the end, is pouring out your love not on the grave of your lost one, but on your remaining loved ones. They still need you although you are broken and feel of no use to anyone. The memory of your beloved will live on in your heart. Create a shrine, grave marker ( a shrub or tree or even a small garden works miracles) or other type of reminder – whether big or small – and keep it close for as long as you need to. Just be careful – fresh pain will be caused by being still in the presence of your beloved’s memory. Sometimes it is better to get busy, move your attention away from your grief and eventually let the visual reminders go if you want to heal and carry on living. It does not mean that you have forgotten the departed, you just choose not to keep them back from crossing over to a place where they will wait for you to join them.

Love and light through the tears





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