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Good Grief

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By: Kevin Sheehan,

Special Columnist

Loss.

Just the one word can invoke almost an eerie feeling. It is something that we all experience, and can be empathized with more readily than most other emotions. After we experience a loss, it is common for us to mourn.

It is hard to let go of things you care about, or even people you care about. But it is important. Some people may not grieve because they feel it is not warranted, that the loss wasn’t that extreme, or so they may want others to believe. Some may feel that if the loss was expected, it makes it easier. Finally, some may feel that we simply do not have time to grieve. We live a fast life, and time crying about things that cannot be changed is time wasted.

Grieving is essential to letting go. When a loved one dies, nothing we can do can bring them back (Yes, it sounds dark, but it is real). So when we mourn, we are not mourning the death of an individual, but the memories we shared, the relationships, and the like. Without mourning, we stay stuck in a time frame, unable to advance.

But sometimes, to move forward, we have to cut the weight holding us back. This doesn’t apply only to grief, but also applies to guilt, feelings of inadequacy, etc. To help us become better individuals, and to help others, we must experience the range of emotions that comes through life so that when we need to help others, we are able.

Letting go doesn’t mean you do not care. It only means that it does not affect your life as much anymore. The wound of loss will always be there, but letting go allows you to face the day with peace, instead of anguish. Letting go also doesn’t necessarily make you happy, but it lets you not be as sad.

2017 was a year I am sure we are all glad to see no longer with us. But with days seeming to go by quicker, we need to remember that we aren’t just trying to achieve our goals or our dreams, but we are trying to live while doing so. To neglect the pain while only tending to pleasure in life is neglectful and leads to imbalance, and is a very dangerous game to play.

There will always be lingering thoughts. There will always be the “I wish I….” followed by a miniscule act that we regret not having done sooner. We realize we can’t change the past, and we often try to change the future, but why don’t we ever try to change the now?

We forget that we will not live forever. We make plans for the future without ever considering that we might not make it there. So I propose a toast: May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live, may you smell every flower and remember every friend fondly, and may you let go of all your pain to live in peace. Here’s to the mourning.