I read a moving article about Viktor Frankl who said when faced with leaving his doomed parents behind who most surely would be going to a concentration camp he prayed for guidance. When he arrived home his father was sitting at the table with a piece of marble that had been broken during a bombing and on it was a segment from the Ten Commandments about ‘honoring your parents’. His decision was made in that moment, knowing he would be taken to a concentration camp instead of using his newly acquired visa to escape the atrocities of war. He believed that the people who survived the holocaust were the ones who found meaning in their lives. That meaning is truly what separates us from other living things. He also went on to state that happiness and the pursuit thereof is fleeting and less likely to sustain us in our trials. Meaning, on the other hand, gives us strength, purpose and courage to move through the hardest times of our lives.
When we stand at the precipice of life and death I often say that life is the harder of the two, although we fear death because we do now know what is to come, it is our life challenges that have shaped us for that moment. We often fear the emotion of grief, and all of her cohorts, pain, disappointment, loneliness, longing. Grief is love unspoken. Yet grief can provide us with meaning, and through meaning- strength, courage and purpose emerge once again. Grief is a lifelong process of healing and a testament to the depth of our love.
The bonds of love are never broken; energy is never destroyed, only rearranged. Those who have passed before us and left us in the state of Grief are only on the other side of a heartbeat, the space between a sigh. They continue into a world unknown to us leaving us with the gift of Grief, one that can bring meaning and healing to us through love.