Death is inevitable; an inescapable fact of life. With death comes sadness, anger, loss…but nobody ever talks about the healing death causes. It seems almost taboo to talk about the beauty in rebuilding after great loss, and I think that is why so many people never recover from great grief.
Most people are comfortable embracing the hurt, and the pain, and the tears; but where are the people saying “this loss made me stronger,” and why do people scrunch up their face when you admit that this part of life has made you a better person.
Death is only a punishment for the living if we allow it to be! We can learn to let go of the suffering, or we can sentence ourselves to a lifetime of it. Before I continue I would like to make it clear that I would never judge someone for the way that they grieve. I would simply like to help people heal, and embrace change. No matter how hard that may be.
I have heard that there are stages of grief, and I have seen them play out before my very own eyes in the people around me. I have seen grief overtake lives, and I have seen it empower. I have seen self destruction masked as grief. I have felt the pain of helplessness when one allows grief to control their life.
In fact, I myself fell victim to the power of grief. It wasn’t a pain that hit me like a truck; it wasn’t just the constant feeling of sadness. It was anxiety and stress; it was many sleepless nights and misplaced guilt…but most of all anger. Nobody warned me about how angry death can make you. I mean truly enraged at the world, and everyone in it. Even angry at myself (without reason). Death will make you doubt the plain and simple truth. And when you’re done being angry, there will still be waves of emotion to come.
However when I took a step back, and began to talk about how I felt, I realized I wasn’t so angry after-all. Mostly, I was just hurt. And that hurt turned to healing the second I decided I was ready to heal. I began to realize that no amount of anger would resurrect the lost. But I could prevent that same loss from happening again if I chose to move forward. So that is what I did.
Now, that’s not to say I was immediately rid of all sorrows. I still cry for Bailie, and I always will. But I cry for different reasons now. I cry because I am relieved that I don’t carry the weight of her death on my shoulders. I cry because she is at peace, and she made the world safer for others who will have her very same illness. She taught us so many important lessons in her passing and I cry because her death will not be in vain; I won’t allow it to be. I cry tears of joy that her suffering is over. I smile that she turned divided coworkers into a family, and into a team; even if that transformation is still in the process.
Death does not have to divide us. Loss does not have to be only loss. We will always miss those who have passed on, but that does not mean they have left us. The truth is that death can teach us how to live again, and loss can teach us how to love. It can make friends of strangers, and pump blood through tired hearts. It can unite us. Death can heal us. Death can be beautiful.