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The Grief Journey: Love Has No End

Photo by Emmeline Ensign“With grief, you just keep going through the layers. It’s amazing how many there are.” —Dona Robinson (HEART GUIDE. She lost her daughter 30 years ago).

“For me, it’s about keeping the memories of the good times.” —Paul Brown (HEART GUIDE. At age 12 he lost his father, over 50 years ago). 

When we lose someone we deeply love, our grief is not measured in hours and days. Rather, the strides we take on such a painstakingly difficult journey might be more accurately measured in terms of years or even decades.

In the image for this month’s post, a ladder will get the climber only partially up the rugged terrain. A rope (just out of view in the photo) hangs down for anyone brave enough to venture beyond the last rung. What awaits us after such an arduous ascent?

Once there, perhaps we begin another passage through unfamiliar territory—with challenges and vistas we cannot yet see or imagine.

There is no definitive endpoint for the healing journey. Nor should there be. Unlike other life activities, the destination here isn’t about achieving something tangible. Lori Robinson, who lost her sister Carol to suicide, notes in HEART GUIDE that healing comes slowly. She says, “Just a year ago my dad asked if everybody would write a memory about Carol. We had an email exchange throughout the family. This exchange took place over 25 years later! It was sweet. I was glad to do that, and it surprises me that none of us thought of that sooner. But it was really helpful.”

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. Even when the moon becomes obscured by heavy clouds or is barely visible, we know it is always there. The pull of love likewise remains with us forever. It brings us, again and again, back to our hearts.

We know being human can bring us heartache. We know we are indelibly changed by tragic experiences of loss.

Yet, we also know love: a force so strong that it guides our steps forward even when the path itself is no longer clear. That journey—loving through birth, joy, sorrow, celebration, and loss—is one we continue to travel . . . over a lifetime. 


In joy & gratitude, 

Diana Ensign

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