Grief can destroy you – or focus you. You can decide the life you shared was all for nothing if it had to end in death, leaving you alone. Or you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared recognize at the time, so much meaning it overwhelmed you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and the laughter of each day, and didn’t allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it’s over and you’re alone, you begin to see it wasn’t just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes or worrying over the bills. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can’t get up off your knees for a long time, you’re driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by the gratitude for the life you shared. And the ache is always there, but one day the emptiness won’t color your day or fill your heart, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the life you shared and the gift of the human heart.
Larry Hood Chaplain