Thoughts on Surviving Grief


I think everyone wants to know how to make the pain stop after losing someone dear. I have had a lot of experience in this regard in recent years, suffering a number of human, canine, and feline losses. I don’t think you can really make the pain go away. You might be able to distract yourself for a while or become numb for a time but the grief is still there. What does ultimately help is the passage of time.

So how do I cope? I realize that the love I shared with the one who is gone is proportionate to the pain I feel after their passing. In a twisted way the pain is a gift that I have because of the depth of love and relationship that was shared.  And with the especially meaningful relationships the grief morphs into a wistful longing of what was and keeps the memories fresh. The sharp pain does subside. It is replaced by these memories. I carry them with me and they become a part of who I am. I never do lose that hollow spot that they filled in life but the images help to keep them close to me so that they are always with me.

Each of these passings of a loved one takes a piece of my heart with it. You would think that after a while my heart would be all used up. This is not the case. I learn something about love each time and am able to love again and again. My heart and love have the capacity to grow. I hope that my emotional heart is getting bigger. I know it’s not getting any smaller.

Duncan-Best Smile Ever

Duncan was this soul mate and best friend for me. When he passed, it was all I could do just to drag myself around and do the bare necessities for days. My heart physically hurt for days too. My world seemed so empty. At every turn, he wasn’t there when he should have been. Two and a half years have gone by. The sharp pains are gone. I function and go about my life and enjoy it. I am happy. Life is good. Have I stopped thinking about Duncan? Not for a day. He is a part of who I am. He goes with me everywhere.

For me this relationship was with a dog. That is the case for some. Others have this experience with different beings. Anyone who was a major presence and part of your life might have the same effect.

Why do I write this? Because I am wallowing in grief? Definitely not. I write so that those experiencing something similar might take some comfort in it and so that those who don’t understand might gain some insight.

The ultimate gift, given and received, is taking that love and honoring it. Love is never wasted. Cherish it and put it to good use by continuing to spread it around.