Grief. It is barely lifting your head off the pillow with the ache of realizing it is the day of your beloved  dad’s funeral. The pain of his passing sears deeply, and is equal parts encompassing, steadfast, uncomplicated love; it is emptiness. It is blinding bereavement. It is the quivering lips and strained faces of your children fighting back tears at the grave side of their grandmother; the one they played school with, and who never missed celebrating a single day of their lives. It labors and languishes in the soul of a mother who lost her son to suicide.

Grief resonates with the spouse as he leans in to kiss his bride of 50 years, blinking back incomprehension as she will likely not make it through the night.  It is expelled through the tears of disbelief from the sister who witnessed the last sacred breath of her warrior counterpart; the realization that joint surrender is part of the fight.  Grief imposes as the indescribable inevitability most of us will experience at some point in life, despite asking the universe, God, or a higher power to shield us from this pain. If truth be told, grief is not a friend, but a teacher.

Grief is learned by being the voice for a soul- mate dog that showed Zen-like grace and acceptance her whole life despite a disability, then calling by name the suffering that is moving from the fringes to the center of her being and you can’t let it happen. Grief rips deeply and if you forget for a minute you have lost a person or animal vital to your existence, it reminds you with endless butterflies in your middle, an anxiety that can only be quelled with tears of release.

Grief is shadows that cast a gray pall over all even when it is bright outside, the muted shade that transforms the color of things, like a stroll through Kansas before Dorothy meets the wizard.

 Grief can combat a previously perceived darkness around death by evolving into a more ethereal experience. Those who consciously work through the layers of grief, may be gifted insights through faith, spiritual awareness and healing. They support the beauty of the soul’s journey, and that death being synonymous with nothingness couldn’t be further from the truth.

Grief is not a straight line. It is the first days of fog as you plan a memorial service, write an obituary and decide which vase your loved one’s ashes will be stored in.  Grief sits with you like an unwanted visitor when you try to sleep and can’t think of anything but your family member or friend’s last days or moments. You know it would be better to envision the healthy, vibrant light force that was, but the mind trips and circulates that which the heart cannot accept.

 Grief is Velcro- it sticks to the moment of joy you may allow yourself in the months after your loss, it grabs hold on the days that start out focused and driven only to bring you to your knees with realization. Grief thrives within the melodies that have new meaning when you are in mourning; they comfort and they also unleash the dark knowing from the deepest parts of yourself most in need of expression. Music is ultimately a code that cracks wide open the memories and moments you most cherished and repelled; both equally necessary to heal.

Grief can start with the preparation of a eulogy, because you are organized by nature and you memorialize with clear thoughts as the event of death will be leveling. Grief is prayer, it is meditation, it is the calling in of spirit in ways you have never understood before and with the exception of the love you have for present family, will become an encompassing, sustaining light. The welcoming in of spiritual awakening comforts but it also exposes us to what lies beyond the analytical; it asks us to trust our own intuition and knowing.

Grief restores; in time, it frees.  When it is not squelched, it rebuilds a layer of protection that hurt will try to penetrate again and again. Willing students will learn. It is relentless until it fades in intensity as you find other ways to remember, honor, and celebrate that and those which you have lost in the physical world. Connectedness is felt by those who welcome it in to varying degrees. Energy lives on and despite one’s personal beliefs, it can be said that it stares down grief and wins. Grief is a darkness that can lean into light. Energy is life and it cannot end. It is that which transcends.