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How 'Grief' and 'Love' Became Synonymous for Me After My Husband's Suicide


In those first weeks to months after his passing, the word “grief” became a universal descriptor. As I experienced how tangible his essence was around me — in every part of our home, in every part of my memories, in every part of my questioning — I understood he was also a part of the existence within the existence of my life. He wasn’t going anywhere, and he was absorbed into me immediately. Everything I was absorbing, everything I was feeling and everything I could feel, conglomerated into that swirl of grief.

Grief was a word I could say. It was a simple, single-syllable word. I did not have to think about it, it said it for me. It came out of me as a term, it came out of me as a sound, it permeated out of me as an existence. It was in my dreams, it was there when I woke up and when I went to sleep, it slipped into any fleeting thought — it just was me. I could not pray, I could not meditate without an open sieve of grief flowing from me. Myself and all those around me knew it was happening, knew we did not have to understand it, knew it was just how it was. It was grief, the universal descriptor for everything — that simple, single-syllable word.

There is nothing pragmatic about grief. In the initial searches for understanding of it, everything you read about it, everything you are told about it is true. It is a mystery that can’t be defined and you will experience it in your own way and in your own time. Your perception of it will affect your personal acceptance and your personal journey with it.  You won’t be able to control it, but it will be yours. You may lament from it, it may be painful to your heart, you may have depths of sadness untouchable for words to describe. All you can do is experience it, and when it decides to surface, you can try to talk to it, and try to be open to learn from it.

My biggest lesson with grief is that it is not something that just comes and goes, and then you are done with it. Your timeline for it is not what you would like it to be. Your grief will change over time and it will stay with you longer than you would think and longer than you would expect. It will take more energy than you would have ever imagined. It will show up in all aspects of your life — emotionally, physically, spiritually, socially, professionally.  You may feel like you are going “crazy” because of it. You may have trouble remembering, organizing, conceptualizing your thoughts and decisions during it. You will search for the meaning and answers to everything as it will have you examine every aspect of your life, if you allow it.

For me, with grief, I am learning that living is not linear, it is not circular. It is a blended swirl of just being as it is. All emotions are engendered in this and sometimes, it is balanced and smooth, and other times, it is strong and bitter. But it is still a swirl. Grief is part of these engendered emotions. In my experience, it does not occur in stages or segments — it is swirling in the perceptions of the past, perceptions of the future and perceptions of current living. And even though I struggle in my conceptual understanding of grief, I am learning that acknowledging it as the unconditional love it truly is, enables the mending of some of the hurt that divides my history with it and flashbacks of it.

In my living now, every moment seems like a lifetime within a lifetime because of the lessons in grieving. Life is a traverse of everything within me and everything that is without me. Life is the total oneness in the everything of a single moment — the oneness of lifetimes within a lifetime. Grief is the true healer of the pain and sorrow within the swirl of this oneness — and as I live with the experience of it, I am learning it is the physical sensation of that pain and sorrow which at a deep level is the same physical sensation of the unconditional love I feel. It is the pain and sorrow that surfaces a deep forgiveness and allows the union and transformation from the simple, single-syllable word — grief — to another simple single syllable word — love —unconditional love. They are the same simple, single-syllable words masked as different emotions, but intertwined as one, and transformed as the same in vibratory frequency. Simple. Grief and love — simple, single-syllable words.

You can follow this journey on The Muse of Wildflowers.

If you or someone you know needs help, visit our suicide prevention resources page.

If you need support right now, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255, the Trevor Project at 1-866-488-7386 or text “START” to 741-741.

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Thinkstock photo via Tharakorn.