Leaning In

“When you are sorrowful, look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight.” ~Kahlil Gibran

Though new growth and beauty may be blossoming everywhere you turn, your spirits may not be in tune with the warmth and beauty of spring and early summer. Perhaps your heart feels heavy because your loved one is missing from your life. Kahlil Gibran, said to be one of the world’s bestselling poets, reminds us that sorrow is the other side of joy. There would be no sadness or pain, had you not first felt the joy in your loved one’s presence and the strength of that relationship. Sorrow is connected to joy as surely as death is connected to birth. You cannot have one without the other.

At times you may have blocked out some of your more painful feelings. This might have helped you survive the difficult moments. But avoiding what hurts can leave you unprepared and unsure of how to cope when faced with so many reminders of your loss, perhaps everywhere you turn. You may not realize that your feelings are normal, and that you are a resilient person who can survive great loss. Moving toward the pain of loss may not be easy, but it is the path toward healing and growth. A bereaved friend once shared with me an image of grief she drew from a white-water rafting experience. Several people who were new to white-water rafting were afraid to row toward the rocks. Instead, they paddled away from the rapids and their rafts capsized. The guide helped them understand that to navigate the rough waters they had to paddle toward and lean into the rapids.

Be patient with yourself. It is difficult to allow yourself to feel what you may have spent time trying to avoid. Try to trust that if you feel the sorrow of your grief, you will, in time, come to know joy again.

If you or a loved one could benefit from grief support, please contact the Pathways Center for Grief & Loss at (717) 391-2413 or visit www.PathwaysThroughGrief.org.