Finding Meaning in Grief

Loss is something we all experience at some point in our lives, and it is never easy. Finding meaning in your grief is a healthy way to begin healing. David Kessler, a grief expert says, “meaning comes through finding a way to sustain your love for the person after their death while you’re moving forward with life.” Some people find meaning in their belief in an afterlife, being able to donate organs of deceased loved ones to save the lives of others who are in need, and from recalling memories of the ones they lost. Others are reluctant to have another child or pet out of fear that pain and history will repeat itself.

For instance, Leslie Gerber of Woodstock, N.Y. found meaning by compiling a book of poems called “Losing Tara: An Alzheimer’s Journey” to immortalize his partner’s loss. Amy Cohen co-founded Families for Safe Streets to combat reckless driving on New York City streets after her 12-year-old son was struck and killed by a car in front of their house. Mrs. Cohen and her husband ended up adopting two boys from China a few years after their son’s death to give them a better life than what they had.

The best way it was put in this article is “Loss is simply what happens to you in life. Meaning is what you make happen.” Some may find that statement as insensitive, but unfortunately, loss is a part of life, and life will continue to go on. This is not to say that every person does not deserve to go through the grieving stages, or that finding meaning will erase grief. Losing a loved one can and will never be easy. We’re not going to go in too deep on the stages, but a good read on the stages of grief is “On Death and Dying” by Elisabeth Kubler-Ross. She goes over how to deal with the five stages of grieving: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

The point of the article is that everyone grieves in their own way. It is not fair for one person to say someone else’s grieving process is “abnormal” simply because you do not understand their process. It does not and should not look a certain way for everyone. If you know someone who is in the middle of grieving give them space and time to heal, be there for them when they need it, and do not judge their process. Help them find a healthy way to remember their loved one, no matter the circumstances of the loss.

Check out the original article by Jane E. Brody here:

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