When we lose someone we love, there are no simple solutions or ten effortless steps we can follow to “fix” our sorrow (or the sorrow of our friends and family). There are also no magic words or religious gurus—however well intended—that can make everything suddenly better.
We are here on this planet for a reason. Our gifts and our talents are needed, now more than ever. As Gandhi so aptly said, “What you do may seem insignificant, but it is most important that you do it.”
While the intensity of our grief may lessen somewhat with time, our love stays strong, powerful, and constant. Like a full moon shining bright in the night sky, love is the beacon we follow.
There is just that: Joining together with our friends, family, or neighbors. Remembering what matters. Helping one another when times get tough. Making mistakes. Learning. Getting up again the next day. Starting over. Saying thanks to those people who help us along.
What can we do in times of tragic loss? We can continue to light candles, we can pray, we can sing, we can sob, we can dance, we can paint, we can write, we can rebuild, and we can gather our loved ones close. We can listen to our heart’s call.
This holiday season, try to create rituals and ceremonies that celebrate what you hold sacred in your life and in your heart. Be intentional about finding ways to honor your truth. Most importantly, be gentle and be kind – to others, and especially to yourself.
In ancient times, people gathered around the warmth of the fire to share tales of their ancestors: stories of brave conquests, legendary heroes, and tragic deaths. In the telling are lessons of courage in the face of adversity, hope in the midst of defeat, and enduring love in the face of death.
What I’ve learned from the many people I interviewed is that we don’t “get over” the death of someone we love. We also can’t fix or placate the intense sorrow we feel. Our experiences of loss — like our experiences of joy — become significant strands in the web of our life story.
When we find ourselves on the unfamiliar shores of loss ... We can spend however much time we need there, perhaps finding solace beneath the vast night sky, a bight full moon, or the soft glow of the setting sun. We can allow ourselves to feel whatever we feel — no right, no wrong, and no judgment.