Navigating the Web of Grief in Complex Relationships

We will all deal with grief at some point of our life or another, it’s one of the guaranteed things in being on Earth, that someone we love will no longer be. No longer be here in our presence. I have always found it hard to grasp my mind around… How could someone just be here one day and not the next day? The next hour. The next minute. How can so much change within the span of one breath? It’s amazing to me, though excruciatingly tragic, truly amazing. Because I can’t help but think about it in the reverse too; within one breath, new life begins. All over the world, all the time, miracles occur in everyday people’s lives. And as the third law of physics states, each and every action causes an equal and opposite reaction; and so disasters also happy in everyday people’s lives. All the time, all over the world. It’s really deep, complicated and a heavy burden on the soul; especially if it is the first experience dealing with loss. It felt like my whole world fell apart when I did; and then it felt like that all over again when it happened once more shortly after. I learned so much about myself during those trying times, and my outlook on life shifted drastically, and I am by no means saying I have all the answers because I have loved and lost; I know you reading this yourself may have too; but I do have some things to share about what I did learn, and maybe it could help someone else, who knows?

I want to stress that we are more than the sum of our parts. We are more than all our actions, decisions, mistakes, failures, successes, etc. We are more than all those things added together — that does not equate the value of our life. We are all whole and perfect regardless of what we did or did not accomplish in this life. By simply being existing we are full beings; imperfectly perfect beings. I say this because sometimes it can be additionally challenging during one’s grieving process to remember the ‘negative’ aspects of the person they lost. Like how they might have hurt you or others along their journey, or that they had flaws that were detrimental to the safety of another being. These are simple examples, but I hope you understand what I mean. I feel that these recollections only make processing the death of a loved one even more difficult, because we are inhibiting our emotions from fully passing through us by bringing in more cloudiness in our thoughts. I know that I have made mistakes in my life and it would suck for my entire life to be equated to the poor choices I might have made at a certain point, because I am more than my actions. Sure, our actions are an extension of us, but they do not make up all that we are.

Grieving and celebrating the life of a being that you loved is so much more manageable when looking at it from the perspective that each living soul is on their own path, excluding you and everyone in their life. Though they may be a part of your life, maybe a huge part of your life, but they are here for their own purpose, for a predetermined amount of time in order to carry out their unique and specific duty on Earth. During these life journeys, we constantly affect the people around us since our paths cross with others all the time, sometimes multiple times in different ways, and they all have meaning. Even if the meanings aren’t understood by us, there was still a purpose. When someone we love is taken from this Earth, it symbolizes that they have fulfilled their duty here, know this and remember them for who they were to you. Remember them for the light you both exchanged and the love you shared, not the flaws they had or the lessons they still needed to learn; they were more. Allow their soul to carry on living by speaking joy to their name and recalling the good times when you are reminded of them. I’ll leave you with a quote from one of my favourite podcasts, The Friend Zone — Fran suggests asking ourselves, “What was the medicine that this dynamic of [this person] being in my life brought to me, and how did I come out on the other side of it?” I believe that finding peace will seem much closer to us when we reframe in this way, and I promise that no matter how long, peace will come.

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