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  • Kari Peters

Learning to love your grief and fear



I used to believe that grief happens when there is loss. Loss of a marriage, job, or when someone dies. I heard an amazing concept this week, one sentence, that I want to share with you today. "The feeling of grief happens not because of loss, but because of love."


When our spouse, child, parent, friend or pet dies, we are unable to function, because we are overcome with grief. We don't grieve over the loss of someone or something we don't love deeply. When we watch the news and see a tragedy on the other side of the world, we still go to work, our minds aren't clouded. Within minutes, what we witnessed on television probably isn't at the forefront of our minds.


Sometimes we don't even realize how deeply we love someone until they die. We can do kind things for them and tell them we love them, but our full understanding of that love isn't usually comprehended until the person is gone. This is why so many people often say, "I wish I would have told them I loved them one last time. Or I wish I didn't say that during our last conversation." That feeling of love for a person is compounded because we believe we cannot love them the same as we did when they were alive. We want to give everything we could have previously, because of the sudden cognitive realization of time and immortality.


In our lives we meet people, develop relationships, care for them and even love them. Sometimes it takes losing someone to truly understand how deeply we love them. We all have points in our lives when we take our existence for granted. That is okay. We all have obligations. These obligations can sometimes take prescience over our friends and family and that is okay. This time or lack of it, isn't a measure of our feelings for them.


I deeply love people whom I haven't seen in years, they live incredibly far away. Just because we don't speak often, doesn't mean that I don't have strong feelings for them. We have the right to feel however we want, for whomever we choose. When these people die,

I will be absolutely devastated. Not because they were there everyday, but because I love them.


I want to tell you today that if you have recently lost someone you love, and are feeling like you should have done more; The amount of time you spent with that person or didn't spend, has nothing to do with how deeply you love them. You have the right to love someone who doesn't exist anymore.


C.S. Lewis said, "No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear." Fear comes from the feeling of being powerless. When someone cannot receive our emotions we are left to hold them inside ourselves. Holding, feeling and facing our emotions is fucking scary. It is so much easier to love someone who is able to accept our love than to keep it to ourselves. Every death I have experienced of someone whom I loved, felt like a numb explosion.


When someone we love dies, we feel confused, lost and overwhelmed. We get this desire to tell everyone what an amazing person they were. We ignore their faults, because we are in a state of overwhelming love which is compounded and so powerful, because we realize we can no longer project that love for them in the same way. When you realize how strong your feelings are for someone, they no longer have any faults. They become what we all strive to be. Perfect imperfections.


This is when the most beautiful transformations happen in our lives. They happen because of the tough and overwhelming emotions we are faced with. I have seen families reconnect, and individuals change and people learn to love themselves again, or for the first time. We take this feeling of desperation and all that love; and even though we're tired and can't think properly, we go out and give absolutely everything we can muster to someone else because that is in our nature.


Human beings are amazing. I have met incredible people, who started charities and foundations which have helped so many people even complete strangers. Donations to charities are given at funerals, because we need to help and to love. This need to give back allows us to make sense of our grief. It allows us to cope through giving.


Grief is scary and feels awful. It is during terrible times in our lives, when we learn about our true self. It is when we realize we are capable of loving harder than we ever thought possible. The symptom is unpleasant at best, but the outcome of being forced to feel so strongly is something which grows us emotionally and that is what our lives are about.


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