Friday, January 23, 2009
If you choose to love . . .
"If you choose to love, you choose to grief."
~ Dr. Alan Wolfelt, Center for Loss
February, the month set aside for those who love, brings meaning to the quote above for me.
For in my 56 years of life, I chose to love - my parents, my husband, my children, pets, and many friends and extended family. And as the quote expresses, because I chose to love, I will also experience grief when those I love are gone.
February, with its brief 28 days, holds more sorrow for me than all the other months of the year. February marks the death of my mother, the death of my father, and the death of my only son, Scott. As this shortest month of the year approaches, and I see the many signs of LOVE displayed in the stores, I feel the weight of grief taking up residence in my heart as I anticipate the approaching days.
I visualize what I may be doing to mark these days. I think about how much I miss each one. I remember the times we shared and the love we experienced. And, perhaps most importantly, once again, no matter how painful, I will give myself permission to feel the grief and mourn my losses.
I think the words of Jesus are most fitting for these days of February.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted."
Jesus is saying, blessed are those who do not deny their grief or stuff their sorrows. Blessed are those who embrace the love, who acknowledge the loss, who express what is on the inside and who mourn.
As I studied for my certification in Death and Grief Studies with Dr. Wolfelt, I learned that grief is an emotion we feel on the inside. But mourning is the outward expression of our inner grief. As Dr. Wolfelt says, "Mourning is grief gone public."
Yes, blessed are those who mourn, for they bring their pain to the outside. Blessed are those who mourn for they allow themselves to release their grief, to make room in their heart to remember the love once shared. Blessed are those who mourn, for you will receive the comfort of others.
And, I want to say, with February coming in a few short days, that if I had to do all over again, I would . . . and I do, choose to love.
Those who would have nothing to do with thorns
must never attempt to gather flowers.