To grieve is to encounter a paradox. Loss is an inescapable human experience; most people – and certainly most adults – endured the death of a loved one. Yet loss can feel completely isolating, a lonely cell with no window.
Lori’s columns on death are written for everyone in this cell or for those who try to help outside of this cell. People ask her, “What will make this pain go away?”
In her answers, Lori leads her away from this question. “Healing doesn’t mean the pain will go away. It means that the pain becomes a sacred part of you that you will carry within you forever. Often grieving people come to me in the hope that I can help them to “find closure”, but I always felt that seclusion was an illusion, ”she writes. “Besides, how can there be an ending point of love and loss? Do we even want that? “
But if the hope is not to feel any closure, then what is it? Lori cites the work of grief psychologist William Worden, who said that one of the “tasks” of grief is to “integrate the loss into our lives and create a lasting connection with the deceased – while at the same time finding a way to move on” . . “
For many people in deep sadness, this advice may feel incomprehensible, like there is no way forward at all. But as I read through these columns, one topic came up: the first step is to get out of that isolated cell. As Lori writes, “Being alone in your grief makes it much worse.”