Sometimes, those we love want us to “get over our grief and move on.” As we approach Kirby’s birthday this year, I keep thinking about the nature of grief. It has been over 8 years since Kirby died in that ill conceived “sweat lodge.” My sadness over Kirby’s death will never go away, and feelings of anger will probably always linger. My longing for her presence will definitely be with me always.
I believe there is no such thing as closure when grieving a loved one. One never really gets over this kind of loss. However, time does affect the grief journey. I have said I would never accept her death. It was sudden, untimely, tragic, unnecessary, ridiculous. But I have started to get used to her not being physically here; I have stopped anticpating her phone call, letter or suprise visit.
Moving on does not mean we are leaving our loved one behind. Truly living with purpose, passion and joy can exist next to sadness and longing. I think of emotions as a pack of needy, annoying little children constantly clamoring for attention. Each one is shouting for recognition, trying to edge out the others. “Pay attention to me!” my sadness screams. Longing argues, “she’ll feel closer if you give your full attention to me!” Anger claims that “this was unfair…I will help you express that injustice!”
These emotions are real and need to be acknowledged, but should be not allowed to dictate my entire emotional state or my behaviors. I say “hello” and soothe them a bit, and then I decide to live as Kirby did: enjoying life, loving others, trying to always be her best self. Those pesky feelings surface but when they do not serve me, I must decide to pay minimal attention to them and move on, engaging in life-giving activity instead. Doing something important, responsible, kind, lovely, fun, or meaningful will bring up other emotions to work against those threatening to sink me into an angry depression.
Ed Preston, good friend from Sedona and supporter of SEEK, shares his understanding and experience of grief with profound insight in his site greiftrainingonline.org.
In this post Ed says:
…Even an atheist can agree with the idea that loved ones live on in our memory, and that forgetting them is not only impossible, it’s not even desirable. To say that grief recurs is not to say that it cripples…
So while losing a loved one creates an inescapable sadness that will always be with us, we can still choose to celebrate and integrate the happy memories of our loved ones into our lives as well.
For Kirby’s birthday today, rather than letting the sad feelings dominate, we’re going to celebrate by giving a special toast to Kirby on her 47th birthday. We’d love to have you join us! Share your toast on Facebook with the hashtag #Kirbys47th and consider “buying Kirby a drink” with a small donation to SEEK.
Thank you, as always, for all of the love and support!