November 6, 2023

Finding Purpose in Grief & Sorrow.

“Analysis of death is not for the sake of becoming fearful but to appreciate this precious lifetime.” ~ Dalai Lama


This quote gives us a thought of encouragement to speak about our death in order to give us clarity about the life we are living and have lived.

It enables us to appreciate life through accepting death.

Grief is such a weird emotion. It is the emptiest feeling of homesickness. It is the deepest loss of something or someone. It is the spiraling of emotions. It is the loss of control of an outcome that we do not want. Even if you feel you are prepared, it sneaks in and catches you off guard. Let’s face it: Grief is an unfair battle we do not choose to fight.

Grief isn’t just about death; it is about the loss of something that was important or special to you. I often grieve the world I grew up in. I felt safe. We stayed outside till the streetlights came up; we swam in the creek and drank from the hose without worrying. I walked everywhere or rode my bike across town with no worry about harm. We had no idea what Red Dye 3 was or thought it was strange that there was a rifle in the rack of a pickup truck.

I miss that world; I grieve that safe feeling. Maybe I was just young and dumb, but my only real fear came from worrying about the outcome of disobeying my parents or getting into trouble at school. I want so badly for my kids and grandkids to feel safe in the world we live in, and I grieve the thought of that maybe never being a possibility. My faith keeps me knowing that there is a bigger plan and that someone else is in charge.

Grief compounds with regret. Did I say everything I needed to say? Did I do everything I was supposed to do? There are times I think I should have had a deeper conversation with my mother about death. But at that time, I wasn’t at the same place I am today—with death. I assumed she would not want to speak about it. I assumed if I spoke about it, it would make it true. I assumed that if I spoke to my mother about it while she was ill, she would think I gave up on her and that would break her heart. I assumed all these things every minute that she was sick. I felt I had to be that tower of strength. She needed to know I would not give up on her. Was I right or was I wrong? There is no right or wrong in this situation. I can only know that I did what I felt was best for her at the time, so I have no real regrets.

Is it strange that I want to appreciate my life and respect my death? David Bowie said, “I want my death to be as interesting as my life.” I have to say, I agree with this thought. It will be a new chapter for me as well as for my family. It should be interesting. I’d like to discuss my death with family and friends. I don’t want to hurry it along or obsess about it, but I feel it is important for them to know my wishes. I also feel this will take some stress off the ones left behind if they know what I’d like.

Of course, it is not an easy conversation to have, and no matter what I say I want, they will do whatever they need to do, and it will be the right thing. But it is a conversation I want to have. And I say this with a chuckle, but in all sincerity, I’d like to write a monologue for my funeral. I want there to be laughter and joy in knowing that my life was/is exactly what it needed to be. I would hope that there will be lots of stories of memories of crazy things I did, or how something I said helped someone or made them laugh. If not, then you have this monologue as a reference point. Harriet Beecher Stowe said, “The bitterest tears shed over a grave are for words left unsaid and deeds left undone.” If you have a conversation that is one deed that is not left undone.

I feel it is quite ironic that grief is described as a deep sorrow as well as trouble or annoyance. Exactly, grief is an annoyance. You have no control over it. The entire grief aspect can’t be changed or altered. It puts you in your place and takes you off guard whenever it wants. You won’t be able to calm it down or be totally prepared. No rule, no guideline, no words to prepare you, no pill to heal you. It can sucker punch you without warning. It disrupts your sense of self and makes you vulnerable. It changes you forever. Grief gives you grief. Let’s face it: It is unavoidable. Have the faith and the wherewithal to know that you will get through it. Live your life in a way that there are plenty of stories to tell. Moments in time that will keep your spirit alive for years to come.

“Analysis of death is not for the sake of becoming fearful but to appreciate this precious lifetime.”

If you live the life you love and love the life you live, you are creating stories every day. Write your biography every day with the best intent of when you are no longer on this earth. You have impacted so many people that there is no way your life will ever be forgotten.

Peace and blessings to you.



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