When any kind of loss comes into our lives, it is a very typical human experience to feel grief and deep sorrow. It could be the loss of a loved one, a beloved pet, loss of a friendship or relationship–even the redefining of a relationship that has changed–or the loss of health, finance, or job. When I looked up the dictionary definition of grief, I found that the synonyms were sadness, misery, anguish, pain, distress, heartache, heartbreak, torment, affliction, suffering, desolation, agony, and despair. Each of those words, on its own, may bring up other emotions that we have experienced during certain times and situations in our lives.
In my experience, dealing with grief and the emotions that come with it can be paralyzing because there is such uncertainty. Every synonym fits with the realizations that come from moving through deep and significant experiences where we learn that life, as it once occurred for us, will never look the same. Time transforms each of us, all the people involved in any situation where loss occurs will go through their own process, and all of us can experience loss and shock when what we once knew to be true no longer exists.
Loss from place of no choice, such as death, can occur for us as hopelessness. Loss from a place choice, such as redefining our life by a change of relationship or job, can be an occurrence of mixed emotions. Dealing with the impact that choosing major change can create certainly can be distressing. However, as the death of one aspect of our life comes to an end–whether from choice or not– it inevitably creates space for the birth of something new. The beauty of grief, when managed openly from the heart, can grant us access to live life fully and to look at nature and people with new eyes and appreciation, and the gift of grief is that it gives us the capacity love even deeper.