After 15 years of being without my Mom physically here, I ignorantly assumed that the feeling of missing her would subside. If anything, the grief continues to show up, especially in the happiest moments, from starting my business to getting engaged, I am left wishing she could be there to hold my hand or tell me how proud she is. Over the years and through my varying accomplishments, people have reminded me how she will always be with me, that she continues to be proud, so on and so forth. Not to sound cold, but these words have been muttered often enough that I have felt as though it was cut out of the unwritten “Words to a Grieving Daughter” memo book. What I always wanted to say back was, “Thank you, but the words won’t help me. Nothing helps this crushing feeling of longing for someone you will never hug, see or talk to again. She is gone and I will never be the same.”
Grief is portrayed as grey, heavy and dark in all the movies and books. My worst fear, since I was about 5 years old, was to lose my Mom. I thought that maybe if I was the perfect little girl, I could suspend this this dark cloud that appeared to be forthcoming. For the past 15 years, I have felt that my worst fear had happened and somehow, I played a part in the unfolding. But, you see, that was the problem with my perspective, I didn’t lose all of my Mom and in no way was it anyone’s fault. Her love, support, and pride for me, it’s still here. It may not be words from her mouth, but it is delivered to me in millions of other ways. It comes from my aunt reminding me how proud she would be, that’s my Mom saying it to me through her sister’s mouth. It comes from my mother in-law who says how sorry she is that I hurt, that, too, comes from my Mom. Or a client that signs off his emails saying, “Keeping smiling!” There she is again! Her love is everywhere I turn. I have been missing these signposts all along the way. What was causing such agitation was all about my perspective.
What I realized this week is that every sentiment that was offered was from a person who was placed in my path since her physical passing, only to remind me she will never abandon me. “Keep smiling.” Was one of the last words my Mom said to me. No way in hell did she leave me behind. She is right here. The purpose of grief is to realize that the missing continues because the love continues. My missing her all this time has been about my loving her and her loving me. The love never went away. Her body had reached the place where it no longer was in a state to continue. The death of her physical body was the natural next step. Her soul, however, was ready for a new beginning. With death, it also means a rebirth. Her rebirth was into non-physical and my rebirth into a new world where fear of loss would eventually shed, and I would be a vessel for others to witness how grief can be a profound teacher.
Grief’s grand purpose was to show me that the love never ends. If the love ended, I wouldn’t be missing her. I wish I had known this sooner, maybe I wouldn’t have held myself back or had as much fear about being in close relationships. My fear of loss has been debilitating. But perhaps that’s what life is all about—going through the darkness to realize there is always light on the other end. I can’t forget to mention there are no damn shortcuts! Maybe I was meant to feel the tremendous loss and pain, so through my work I could realize that pain is an indication that we are not in harmony with who we, as humans, are at the center.
Who I really am resonates with love and trusting that all is going according to a divine plan. When I turn to grief and view it as if it’s the dreaded darkness of my soul, of course I feel bad. I realize now that grief has given me the greatest gift of all. Grief has given me endless love to offer other people, it has allowed me to be with someone in their dark moments and be a light, and most of all it has shown me that love is an unbreakable bond that cannot be diminished with time or space. To love yourself means to trust that no matter how unworthy you feel, the eternal love that every one of us is made of is waiting to be revealed and it is a matter of time before you begin to see this truth. Grief is our shared love that is never ending, all encompassing, keep you safe and warm, forevermore. Grief does have a purpose.
With grace and gratitude,