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Life after Grief

It’s been over a year since I lost my mom and eight months since I lost my dad. Days pass and that longing ache of missing them never fades. They are with me forever.

I can tell you that the past year was a blur and that it took a very long time to truly come to terms with this significant loss in my life. I can only tell you that grief is a process and that each person handles it differently and at their own¬†speed. Mine was dial-up. It took the understanding that I am not the only one in this world who has experienced such pain, and with this knowledge, I’ve learned to cope. I am not alone; we are all connected. We, all of us, have unfortunately experienced loss.

I am now beginning the next chapter in my life without their guidance – it’s an odd feeling to walk in this world without them nearby to catch me in case I fall. No matter what age you are, the comfort of your parents’ presence is like a bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick. They are a roaring fire on a cold winter’s day. A ray of sunshine when there has been nothing but rain. But with their loss comes knowledge: I have learned more empathy for those who grieve. I have gained more compassion for others. I understand the undeniable and unconditional love parents feel for their children. These are gifts, and although these cherished attributes come at a price, I am thankful. Appreciative that I am a better person for having gone through what I have and for now having a better understanding of others. If you grieve, know that you will be blessed with gifts, as well.

Although your loved ones leave this world physically, parts of them will always remain. A smile. A laugh. A saying. These little aspects leave their lasting imprint. I was at the dentist recently (have you ever had a crown? ugh) and talked with the dental assistant about her grandmother who had meant so much to her. She said her mother often told her she was just like her grandmother and said things only her grandmother would have said. And I smiled at her, understanding her joy. A part of them never leaves you. You are a reflection of them.

There are times when I talk with my sister and I’ll think I’m talking to my mom. Or, times when my husband will say I sound or act just like my dad. There are times when I feel like my mom and I smile, knowing she’s with me. That my parents are with me forever in my heart. They’ve never left me.

If you have experienced loss, know that they will remain with you. That they will carry on through you. They are a part of you and you will keep their memory and who they were alive to share with others. That is a gift, indeed.