someone recently posted a comment in response to my post about the paradox of grief. the person asked how i apply the concept, and i started to write a response in the comment section. but then i realized my response was probably long enough for a post of its own. so here it is...
to lose means that you once had.
and that, in itself, is something to be cherished.
how do i apply it? well, to the person who asked the question -- i'm not sure where you are in your stage of grieving, but i know that i've been constantly reminded that while there aren't tons of people who have experienced the loss i have, there are lots of people who also haven't experienced the kind of love i was blessed to have.
i can choose to focus on what i lost, or i can also choose to focus on what i had.
for some people, the loss of a parent hits them very hard. in those moments, the person grieving can choose to focus on the loss of that person or on the fact that they were incredibly blessed to have a parent who loved them, supported them, and shaped them into the person they are happy to be today. there are so many people who don't experience the kind of relationship they want to have with their parents.
for other people, it might be the loss of a child. the grieving person can choose to focus on the loss of the child or on the fact that they were incredibly blessed to have a child who brought them joy, made an impact on other lives, and made them proud. it's often said that no parent should have to suffer the loss of a child (and I can only imagine how the pain feels). but there are also so many people who want nothing more than to have a child, and for one reason or another, that hasn't been the plan for their life -- whether due to relationship status, health reasons, or other factors.
i say all of this not in an attempt to diminish the very real pain we all feel when we lose someone who is close to us. the same goes for the loss of a relationship, job, home, and other significant item. it hurts. it's tough. it feels unfair. it often has no rhyme or reason.
but when i look at my own situation -- even with my knowledge that what i had seems to have been tragically cut short -- i know that there are people out there who long to experience one month of what i felt. maybe even just one week.
i was blessed to have it for five beautiful years.
and while i still cry, the tears don't only represent the pain. the tears also represent all the good i had. otherwise, there'd be nothing to cry about.
though my loss feels nothing like a blessing, i only feel my loss so deeply because i had something so very wonderful. i'm thankful for what i had. i recognize it's something that many others wish for. i strive to not let it be overshadowed by the loss i feel today.