My housemate and friend was dying of AIDS in the early 1990’s. He was a therapist and practically a boddhisattva, one who vows to come back again and again to serve others’ enlightenment. As he was busy dying, he was also coaching us on how to let him go. He counseled that the heart doesn’t just break, but it breaks OPEN. Our hearts grow bigger to love even more.
If you have ever risked loving, suffered great loss, and went on to love again, you understand. Life has a way of calling us out again.
The grief and pain we feel shows us who or what we loved; the depth of our feelings show us the vastness of that love. While the person, animal, role, home, job, health status, identity may be gone forever, that love is still there. We enter new territory, but that love has a way of continuing and transforming and accompanying us on the journey.
For a mom facing an empty nest, the strong practice of nurture could lead her on to share that much needed gift with others. Anyone losing a particular job could reevaluate what makes her feel most alive, harvest what was meaningful of that work, and follow that impulse forward.
And for those of us grieving loved ones, it helps to remember that we carry our beloveds in our very bodies – our memories and stories and who we’ve become out of loving them. And most importantly, the spirit to spirit connection remains. The loving relationship continues in a different form as they become our Ancestors.
Loss circles back to love, and love remains.