“Grief is a most peculiar thing; we’re so helpless in the face of it. It’s like a window that will simply open of its own accord. The room grows cold, and we can do nothing but shiver. But it opens a little less each time, and a little less; and one day we wonder what has become of it.”
—Arthur Golden, Memoirs of a Geisha
Life involves us in grief, but it is up to us how we will grieve. We choose our path. And varying levels and depths of acceptance and rejection we align to. Sometimes we wholeheartedly grieve. Other times we run as fast as we can in the opposite direction. Grief, we can say, takes courage; it takes time; it takes great patience. And it requires openness.
But grief is never more normal to life, because we are constantly losing and gaining and losing again. We grow attached and then things are ripped from our grasp. How are we to otherwise contend?
If we care, life will hurt. If we commit to love we will be forced to grieve.
The Necessity of Grief and Reinvention of the Identity
It does us no good at all to close our hearts to our grief. We save ourselves no ordeal; indeed we create an unnecessary ordeal by closing ourselves off to what is our truth.
Opening our hearts to grieve means we enter a journey toward the transformation from dead versions of ourselves toward more relevant editions that we are becoming. Not many of us welcome that idea; that we are called upon to reinvent ourselves.
But that is life. This inconsistent and unpredictable existence requires us to adapt.
If we don’t adapt we don’t overcome. And if we don’t overcome we really shrivel and die. When we tackle our grief, notwithstanding how ambiguous or complicated it may be, we develop resilience through acceptance.
Reconfiguring the identity never seems a pleasant task, but the way life forces itself upon us we often appear to have no choice. Yet we hardly perceive the limitless options to improve our lot by the exploration of new identity.
Becoming More by Becoming Something Else
The concept of transformation requires openness of mind and heart. When we can let go of what grieves us, even fleetingly, we can begin to imagine new life. A new version of ourselves is envisioned. It is strange and liberating that we can do this.
God gives us power and mastery over our destinies of identity. We are the ones that rewrite the scripts. We gain our own permission. We please ourselves. And God is pleased at our volition to accept the offer of new life.
This new life is no negation or betrayal of the old life or of those gone. All the more it is a testimony to the old life and to those gone that we may live again.
Our grief is not the end of our lives; it’s the beginning. Beyond our depressions and times of anxiousness for the changes coming we have hope for new possibilities and a broader life than we’ve previously had. Life after grief can, in fact, expand.
When we open our hearts to grieve, we welcome the divine transformation of who we are becoming in the midst of our new reality. The more we open our arms, the better it will be.
© 2012 S. J. Wickham.