There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief and unspeakable love–-Washington Irving
Despite the pain it elicits, loss shows us the healing power of love. It teaches us about the delicate balance, intensity, and richness of life and above all, provides the greatest opportunity for transformation. Loss is bittersweet for we cannot experience the pain of loss without first having experienced the joys associated with what has been lost. The heartbreak that wounds us most deeply eventually leads us to greater enlightenment, blessing our lives with a more spiritual depth of life.
Being a human being sets us up for an excessive emotional attachment to loss. Whether real or perceived, we experience loss when we are deprived of or have to let go of something we had and valued, something that we needed, wanted or expected. As we make strong affectional attachments to significant others, we undergo deep emotional distress when we are separated or lose that person. Therefore, the loss of a significant relationship even one with great distress disrupts bonds of love, connection, and security. Such loss produces separation anxiety or distress and these losses are critical to healing feelings of lovelessness for most adults.
Ultimately, we cannot know another’s soul journey so we must acknowledge whatever choices they make are part of their divine path. As hard as it is to understand or grasp, they are fulfilling their soul’s potential even if that choice is death. Therefore we must be grateful for the precious time we have with them even if it’s for a few seconds, months, or years. Regardless of the time we spend together, our love and soul connection with them transcends the physical universe and energetically resides in the eternal space of the soul.
There is no preparation for the life-shattering loss of a loved one for it is an unfathomable pain that penetrates our lives and pierces our hearts. Yet, we can best honor our soul connection with our child or another by transforming our loss into love. We can channel the energy released at our loved one’s death by putting their powerful light to positive use.
Another way to direct this energy is to love those family and friends we cherish and send love out into the world for the betterment of humanity. For example, we can become more kind and compassionate partners, patient and tolerant parents, attentive and supportive friends and co-workers. We can channel our losses into love by healing others as we rid the world of racism, abuse, hatred, and malevolence. Resonating as a field of love, we can become love activists in our love-starved world. Experiencing unconditional love is critical to healing our feelings of lovelessness and releasing our pain. Without full release, such losses create chronic distress, which may manifest in such conditions as depression, anxiety, and physical illness. If left unresolved, these losses will continue to be repeated and recycled through our interactions with others. As Judith Viorst aptly says, “Our childhood and youth are gone and we must pause to mourn our losses before we move on.”
It is critical that we mourn the significant losses in our lives. Without appropriate grieving, we cannot fully release the thoughts, feelings, and images that continue to weigh heavily on our hearts. Remaining stuck in the grieving process leads to a state of unremitting grief which clings to feelings of sorrow, anger, guilt, self-loathing, and depression. We must share and express our pain and give it a sacred space to heal so we can become whole. Leaning into our vulnerable selves allows us to face and experience the other side of loss, which is unconditional love of ourselves.
It is experience of loss, more than any other experience in life that can compel us to step into the space of our vulnerability so we can heal.