Grief Lessons

Life is ephemeral, so be courageous in your expression and put compassion at the helm. If you love someone, let them know. Make time for loved ones, even if it seems there is no time to squeeze in to share laughter and hugs. Overworking is not worth time lost with the ones in our hearts. Trust your intuition because it only talks when something deeply life-changing is underway. Grief taught me these lessons.

Having said that, my late brother Stephen would’ve been 45 today. He modeled creativity for me since my early childhood, so whenever I make art, his spirit lives on in each dab of ink, resonating note, or swirl of paint. I wonder how he would’ve grown, what lives he would’ve touched with his unsurpassed sweetness, and what silliness he’d evoke around him had he reached today.

Stephen passed 11 years ago this August, and I’m grateful the desolation I once felt from his absence has transformed into gratitude of his presence in my life. Happy Birthday, Brother!

5 thoughts on “Grief Lessons

  1. Condolences for your loss. You’ve learned one of the most important lessons in life. The older we get the more important it is to live with the good memories we have instead of descending into sadness over what once was. I just lost a cousin in a murder-suicide and going through this same thing.

    1. Thanks Dan. Although I don’t discount the process of “descending into sadness.” I think it’s part of what needs to happen to get through all the feelings. It’s hard and scary, and somehow necessary. My therapist always says, “You’ve got to feel it to heal it,” and I find that to be true for me. The first five years of his death were hell on earth for me. I wanted to die, too, even. I had to experience all the remorse, sorrow and regret to land where I am now. Just like with anything else in life, grief has no shortcuts.

      I’m sorry to learn of the tragic loss of your cousin. I can’t even imagine. I hope you have folks in your circle to turn to for support when you want it. I hope you are taking care of yourself. If you’re in Portland still, the Dougie Center has some resources online about ways to navigate grief that really helped me when Phil died in 2019. Hang in there and be well.

      1. Can’t afford to live in Sequim any longer, so I’ll probably sell my mobile home and move back to Mazatlan. My cousin had cut himself off from the family 20 years ago after joining an extremist Christian cult, so we weren’t close. Three years ago one of my best friends died suddenly in a work accident; THAT one hit me hard.

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