What’s beautiful about grief?

Like me, you would probably say well, nothing. Who would want grief?

I do.

Last week, I lost my beloved retriever Lambeau. She was my constant companion for nearly 14 years, celebrating every joyful milestone, and supporting every crappy moment that I’ve experienced in that same timeframe. She was there. Loving me and everyone around me like it was her job.

I grieved hard. Ugly crying. I thought I could feel my heart break in two. It hurt. And it still does. I know it will hurt for a long time.

And I realize, that’s okay. I am allowing myself to feel all the feels. Stroll down memory lane. Sit with the pain. Let it in. Cry the ugly cries.

Because without the pain there would be no joy. We live our lives in contrast, and no matter what—we get the opportunity to experience it all. There would be no heartbreak without the love.

And the reality is right now, many of us are grieving. And we don’t even know it. It doesn’t take the loss of a love one for it to be there. That simply brings it all to the surface.

In the last six weeks, what have we lost? In addition to the potentially big and poignant loses, a loved one, a job, money, or health, there are so many more. We’ve lost our…

  • autonomy and choice to go wherever we want, whenever we want
  • our perceived certainty about the world
  • the predictability of our days
  • alone time–as we shelter with children, spouses or partners
  • spontaneous socializing with friends, family, co-workers
  • warm and comforting hugs
  • ability to witness or participate actively in sports
  • access to people things we assumed would always be available to us—the dentist, a hairdresser, toilet paper, wet wipes

I’m sure you can add more. So, the question becomes, how are you coping with the grief? Do you know its there in you, your family, and everyone you work with?

Because acknowledging it is step one. I remember in college being exposed to the research done by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her book, On Grief and Grieving. The application to our experience today is so profound.

When observing others and understanding ourselves around the stages of grief, just notice the journey through:

  1. Denial
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Despair
  5. Acceptance

It’s there in each of us. It’s all around us. But until we recognize it as such, it’s difficult to move towards greater acceptance.

I know I am still hovering between despair and acceptance for my Lambeau. I am feeling all the feels. I am also allowing myself to honor the losses to my business, my family and my community. Because in doing so, I allow myself greater peace. And when I find peace, I can more easily find joy. And hope for a better tomorrow.

And that’s the beauty of grief.