Love is Stronger than a Death
By Cameron Kent
Around this time last year I wrote an article for The Rosemary Branch about my Mother's death. I called it 'My Journey'.
In that article I recalled my experience of bereavement and the way I processed my Mother's passing. One year on I think the time is right to write another article about where I am in this process now. I hope by doing this it might be of assistance to other people who are going through the early phases of their own grieving experiences.
There's no doubt about it: a bereavement is a really tough thing to go through. It's even harder to work through. There is no school to prepare you for the very great shock it brings to your life. A death is forced learning, not the learning you want or the learning you might choose.
To work your way through a bereavement you will need to have friends to support you along the way. It's no easy thing to navigate. And remember this: if you find yourself struggling to find your way through the maze that is bereavement, be sure to ask for help, because its okay to admit you're not coping.
A death brings different reactions from the people around you and this adds to the complexity of the experience. Some people are really helpful, some people only helpful to a point and some people have no idea about what to say or do. I've noticed from my own experience that it's not uncommon for bereaved people to feel they are under pressure to "get over it" - as if it were that easy. Don't feel you have to say "I'm over it" before you genuinely are because it can be counterproductive to hurry things along. Take your time. It's okay to grieve.
Well meaning people used to ask me this question quite a lot - are you okay? - and I understand they felt the need to ask me this, but the words never really seemed to me to respectfully catch the occasion. I felt I was being encouraged to hurry my grieving along and that feeling never really sat comfortably with me. I would say 'yes' because I felt I was expected to say that when the truth was I wasn't fine at all. With time I realised the answer to this question was a whole lot more complex than simply saying yes, so I would say "I agree with the saying that you never really get over a death but you learn to live with it - and that's where I am these days". It felt a whole lot better to say this.
I have also been struck by the great power 'Love' plays in our lives and the role it plays in working through a death. The truth is we only want the very best for the people we love, and have loved, and somehow this concept doesn't sit comfortably with the reality that someone has died. So, there's a tendency in the early stages of a bereavement to see a death as love lost whereas these days I see it more as a new chapter in a continuing love story.
Love is multi-dimensional. It's not just a matter of our love for the person who has died but their love for us as well. Love is the growth component of a relationship, and much much more. It's also the factor that energises growth.
Love is stronger than a death and love can withstand a death. The trick is to find ways to keep your love alive. By grieving my Mother's death in the way I did and by allowing the process to run it's course I allowed my love for her to inform my grieving - the same way that love now informs my return to good health. I have gone through the full range of feelings and emotions over the last four years: from feeling great sadness to feeling my Mother's love coming my way each and every day. For me the feeling is very agreeable, to know that our relationship is strong, and very much alive and well.
Just be sure to let your grieving process run it's course.