is through our losses that we can transform ourselves and find new
meaning to life.
- from Healing Grief, by James Van Praagh
a superb book
about love + grief
Grief is a sphere in that it can be turned a quarter
turn or turned a millionth, it can be spun on any axis and by any
degree and still its aspect is the same. Symmetry is nurtured by higher
dimensions. This was my intellect in action and its attempts to salve.
Nothing had yet healed to silver: I was raw. I
was a child and I had lost my father. I lost him over and over
again each morning, every long night. I lose him still. In every heartbeat,
his absence and its isolating factors. And how do I remember him?
On his last birthday as I stretched to kiss him on the cheek.
His love was fuel.
I am a blind woman recalling colour, I am the amputee who still believes
that she can feel each shin. All that yearning! I was gutted: I longed
for him to exist not only so that he could guide me, but so that I
could love and be in turn loved by him. Forgetful wish. My father
had always been that place to which I could return. I sought his voice
in silence, chased his shadow through the dawn. Mourners depend on
such implausibility for sustenance.
It was a case of separating smoke from air and air from smoke: circular
endeavours designed only to lead me to myself. Anything to distract
me from the truth. My intellect reconstructed him but the experience
was lost and so I valiantly incorporated that loss into my reconstruction
- again, so circular. When my fabled stepfather gripped my throat
and smilingly tried to choke me, all I could think of as I kicked
and struggled was my father. There is such sorrow in knowing that
he will never see me as a woman. There is such sorrow in knowing that
he will never again share my life. There is a world of sorrow in relinquishing
such love. Grief is a sphere.
from The Pure Weight of the Heart, by Antonella Gambotto-Burke
along the journey of grief
You can expect that: Your grief will take longer than most people
think. Your grief will take more energy than you would have ever imagined.
Your grief will involve many changes and be continually developing.
Your grief will show itself in all spheres of your life: psychological,
social, physical, and spiritual. The intensity of your grief will
depend on how you perceive the loss.
You will grieve for many things both symbolic and tangible, not just
the death alone. You will grieve for what you have lost already and
for what you have lost in the future as well.
Your grief will entail mourning, not only for the actual person that
you have lost, but also for all of the hopes, dreams, and unfulfilled
expectations that you held for and with that person, and for the needs
that will go unmet because of their death. Your grief will involve
a wide variety of feelings and reactions, not just those normally
associated with grieving, such as depression and sadness.
The loss will resurrect old issues, feelings, and unresolved conflicts
from the past.
- You will have some identity confusion as a result of this major
loss and such feelings may be a new and puzzling experience for you;
- You may have a combination of anger
and depression, including feelings of irritability,
frustration, annoyance, or intolerance;
- You will feel some anger and guilt, and may spend a significant amount
of time searching for ways that you could have changed or prevented
- You may have a lack of self-concern;
- You may experience grief spasms, acute upsurges of grief that occur
suddenly with no warning;
- You will have trouble thinking (memory, organization and intellectual
processing) and making decisions;
- You may feel as though you are going crazy;
- You may be obsessed with the death and preoccupied with the deceased;
- You may begin to search for meaning
and may question your religion and/or philosophy of life;
- You may find yourself acting socially in ways that are different
from before; or
- You may find yourself having a number of physical reactions.
Society will have unrealistic expectations about your mourning and
may respond inappropriately to you. You may find that there are certain
dates, events, and stimuli that bring upsurges in your grief feelings.
Certain experiences later in life may resurrect intense grief for you
In summary, your grief will bring with it, depending upon the combination
of factors above, an intense amount of emotion that will surprise you
and those around you.
Most of us are unprepared for the global response we have to a major
Our expectations tend to be too unrealistic, and, more often than not,
we receive insufficient assistance from friends and society. Your grief
will not only be more intense than you expected, but it will also be
manifested in more areas and ways than you ever anticipated.
You can expect to see brief upsurges of it at anniversary and holiday
times, and in response to certain stimuli that remind you of what you
have lost (songs, etc.).
Your grief will be very idiosyncratic and dependent upon the meaning
of your loss, your own personal characteristics, the type of death,
your social support, and your physical state.
- from Grieving: How
to Go on Living When Someone You Love Dies by Theresa A. Rando
Copyright 2002 Theresa A. Rando