It has been a week of devastating news for some of my friends and for me of course, because they are my friends. Terminal illness for one, and a serious diagnosis and surgery for another has shaken them to the core and shaken those that love them. I have begun the process of grief which may seem odd and ill-timed but a quote has come to mind this week that explains much. Sadly, I don’t know the original author so the quote will stand as “Author Unknown”.
“Grief, I’ve learned is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corner of your eyes, the lump in your throat and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.”
Such a succinct description, yet grief seems to overflow into other channels. All those channels involve love, but the tentacles of grief reach to unsuspected places.
I find myself grieving for the life I’ve loved. With each friend or loved one that succumbs to stroke, cancer, heart disease, diabetes, the prediction that “no one is getting out of here alive” is slammed home. I have lost the carefree spirit that (wrongly) believed I was immune; the feeling as one friend explained to me regarding her life, “I thought I was Superwoman.”
I am grieving for how little it seems love can really do. We desperately say “I love you” again and again, hoping it will somehow be enough before that final parting. Hoping the feel of that love can be carried within each other. But though love is inarguably a spiritualistic buoy, it cannot heal, it cannot cure, it cannot reverse the trajectory of a life nearing its end. We cannot wield love to do the very thing we would wish primarily to do.
And now, I grieve as the idea that we are given a wonderful life and opportunity to do something good in the world, no matter how big or small, proves itself to be more than we thought. Just when we find the cognizance to appreciate the happy wag of a dog’s tail, the beauty of a sunrise or sunset, the value of a true, loyal friend, we have already begun the descent to the stage in life where these things are imminently finite. Trying to make an impact on the world may not be nearly as important as making and impact on our own world..
Grief is truly love with no place to go and there will always be love left over; it cannot all be spent as it regenerates again and again with hope and promise and optimism. We owe ourselves the feelings of grief and its ultimate healing properties yet just as much, we owe ourselves the promise not to squander appreciation and love of what we have been given. This is not original thought, but there is a constant need to remind ourselves again and again to honor ourselves and those that go before us.