Only Love Can Break A Heart: On Loving Big and Grieving Big

img_4935       “Only love can break a heart, only love can mend it again.”

It’s been a while since I’ve written a blog post. I come to my computer daily, sit down intending to write, but end up on endless Google searches or posting one-liners on Facebook. Or looking at cat and flower photos on Instagram. Or retweeting humorous tweets.
I’m restless, wandering aimlessly.
And that’s on a pretty good day.
Other days I go through half a box of tissues and curse because I’m angry and sad.

Grief is like that. One day you’re fine: you go off into the world of work, school, and people with a sense of normalcy. The next day you do well to comb your hair and put on pants. And that’s perfectly ok. Both days are perfectly ok.

Grief is not a one-size-fits-all affair. Everyone grieves differently. One person may try to keep busier than usual in an attempt to ignore the pangs of grief, while another may sleep all day. Some will want to be surrounded by friends, others will want to be alone more than usual. One way is not right, the other wrong. The important thing to remember with grief is that it’s not something you “just get over.” Time may lessen the intensity, but it never erases it completely. It can’t. There’s always something to remind you of the loss–a place, a scent, a particular date, a picture, or a person. Allow yourself to experience and feel the grief, because neglected grief never goes away. Many Mind-Body experts will tell you that ignoring the grief that accompanies loss only intensifies its presence in the body and interrupts the healing process (See Dr. Candace Pert’s Molecules of Emotion.)

And don’t expect to experience closure, at least not closure as we tend to think about it in terms of the final stage of grief. Merriam-Webster defines closure as “an often comforting or satisfying sense of finality.” In light of that definition, I don’t think I have ever experienced closure. Although, I have experienced acceptance. Big difference.

Mary C Lamia Ph.D. writes about the myth of closure in a Psychology Today article. She emphasizes:

The emotion of grief may be triggered by the loss of a loved one or the result of a life circumstance. Many people believe that if you have effectively mourned a loss you will then achieve closure. The notion that one mourns a loss and then gets over it, to the extent that emotions about the loss are not triggered in the future, is a myth.

I think Rose Kennedy, who was no stranger to loss and grief, said it best:

It has been said that time heals all wounds. I don’t agree. The wounds remain. Time – the mind, protecting its sanity – covers them with some scar tissue and the pain lessens, but it is never gone.

Grief, along with everything else that consists of our humanity, is, as they say, complicated. Love and grief are complexly intertwined. As my sister reminded me the other day, our Mom often said, “When you love big, you grieve big.” And so we do.

I’m doing ok. Today I combed my hair and put on pants. And I’ll go on loving, because as Gene Pitney so famously crooned, “Only love can break a heart, only love can mend it again.”
I took this photo because it reminds me that a broken heart is still a heart. And it can still love big. And it can mend again.

 

**If you are experiencing lasting grief, or if the “bad days” outweigh the “good days,” please consider seeking help from a qualified health provider, therapist, or counselor. There is no shame in asking for help to feel better and facilitate the healing process. One resource for finding support is MentalHealth.gov.**

 

 


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