Thursday, August 14, 2008

In three words I can sum up everything I've learned about life: it goes on. ~ Robert Frost

The dictionary defines grief as "intense sorrow caused by loss of a loved one (especially by death)."

This past week we learned of the death of Bernie Mac, gone at age 50. Isaac Hayes is gone at age 65. A horrible shock to their families.

My sister, Kim, lost her battle with cancer in April. She was only 56. My brother-in-law and Kim's husband, Tony, died in March of this year, too.

After a misunderstanding or disagreement (whatever you want to call it), my son and daughter-in-law have decided that they do not want us in their lives.

But, thank God, life goes on if you let it.

Kim's death gave me the blessing of reconnecting with two of my sisters. We had Tom's family reunion in July and reconnected with family members we hadn't seen in over 15 years.

Over the Labor Day weekend, we will be able to reconnect with my nephew, whom I have not seen since his high school graduation in 1991, and his wife and young daughter, whom I have never met.

Life, indeed, does go on. Over these last few months, I have tried to figure out the dynamic that takes place when people (including me) are confronted with grief, but at the same time experience joy and renewal. The pain of grief is not meant to be an isolating emotion and forces us to reach out beyond ourselves for comfort and consolation. Grief changes your perspective and gives you the ability to see things within the context of a much larger picture. The deeds, actions or words of others that once seemed devastating, overwhelming and intolerable are measured differently through grieving eyes. I have come to the conclusion that grief, no matter how painful and raw, leaves your heart open wider.

"Consolation" by Lora Shelley

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