[Exploring Life] As the third anniversary of my mother’s death approaches, the feeling of her absence remains remarkably vibrant. While the nature of my grief continues to transfigure itself, even three years later, it has definitely not “gone away” and nor can I say that, “I am over it.” In The Nature of Grief, I stated that, “The feeling of grief does not go away, but it does evolve.” I also indicated that at a fundamental level, grief and bereavement are necessary spiritual endeavours in life, more than they are psychological events that need to be “fixed.” I would like to explore here the possibility of grief as an intimate conversation, that is, how it can befriend us and teach us to live deeper, more authentic lives.
I could not have imagined writing the previous sentence three years ago while immersed the raw grief that emerges during that mercurial period of time immediately following the loss of a loved one. In the aftermath of death, grief cuts a gaping wound deep within our hearts. During this period of mourning, as we try to find our way through the emotional instability that has fallen upon us, we are unable to imagine the hidden potential within our suffering. None of this is to say that I no longer feel the poignancy, and indeed the heavy weight in my heart, over the loss of my parents. It is to say, however, that the nature of my grief has changed over time, and our capacity to move into conversation with it is an essential core competency in living.