Reflections on Impermanence and Grief

Tomorrow is All Saints’ Day, and here in Poland that means most people will be going out to cemeteries to visit deceased loved ones. It is a time of reflection and remembrance, but it is also a time of family, togetherness, and love.

 

Last winter was a really difficult one; for me it was a winter of death. From mid-November through January, three out of four of my grandparents died. Those of us that remained had a lot of loss to deal with.

I reacted differently to each death depending on my relationship to that particular grandparent. It was much easier to deal with my grandmother’s death, who had been ready to die for some time. She had prepared her family, and I knew it was something she wanted. That made it somehow easier.

My paternal grandfather’s death was the most difficult for me, because I had a close relationship with him. I received news of his death by telephone from my grandmother (his wife) while I was writing and drinking coffee at a café. I was able to keep my composure on the phone, but I completely lost it as soon as the conversation ended. I fell apart in public. It was a difficult experience. I was in shock. I was embarrassed for crying uncontrollably in front of all these strangers.

Dealing with grief is ugly and painful. There is no one right way to do it. There are better and worse ways, of course, but who are we to tell another human being what is the right way for them. Over the last ten months, I have cried my fair share, I have felt numerous emotions from anger through misery to indifference. There have been times I have wanted to not feel anything at all. I don’t know what stages of grief I have gone through or which ones I have yet to experience. I don’t really care to logically explain what has been happening to me.

It has been extremely difficult. Some days are easier than others. Ten months in, I can say it has gotten better. I am better. I don’t think the loss can ever be erased or replaced, but it can become easier to bear with time.

The truth is that even writing this is very difficult. Letting go of another human being that you love is difficult. As human beings we like to cling on to people, things, experiences, places, BUT they never belonged to us in the first place. We are blessed to be temporarily in the lives of others, and they in ours. That is all.

There is much I do not understand and I know I don’t understand life and its purpose. I know one thing for sure, and that is love. We are here to love fearlessly and with abandon.

My grandparents’ deaths have taught me about the brevity of life and impermanence. I try to live in the moment, be present and be thankful. I remember to love and show my love so I can live a life free of regrets. I try to live my purpose as honestly and authentically as I can.

Life can be painful but it is also beautiful, and I cannot get over the awe I feel almost every day when I think about this awe-inspiring planet we live on with all these people, animals, and plants. It is amazing and makes me tear up each time.

I feel a oneness and connection to all that fills me with love, and that makes sense of it all for me. To be able to feel loss is proof of love that was felt and a life lived.

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4 thoughts on “Reflections on Impermanence and Grief

  1. I’m sorry for your losses and I understand your feelings related to grief. 2012 was the “year of death” for me. It took me all of 2013 to realize it was time to stop cultivating my relationship with grief. I’m glad you are able to write about it.

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  2. I’m so sorry for what you have gone through… Writing about it is not only brave but also therapeutic, I hope. In fact, I wrote my dissertation on impermanence and although it was related to buildings (I studied architecture), it helped me realise that nothing lasts forever and we must make the most of it while we can. Then again, this is always easier said than done.

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    • Thank you. We all have to learn from loss at some time. I’ve learned to be present in the present more and appreciate what I have. Letting go of people and things is hard, but ultimately we have to do it.

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  3. Pingback: May 1 #LinkYourLife Roundup | The Honeyed Quill

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