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Grief Is Love

Lisa Michelle Zega Images August 2022

Grief Kuel Thought Leader: Lisa Michelle Zega

Love is the simplest and most profound definition of grief.

“Overtime, the walls constructed to keep pain out become a prison that locks the heart in.”

Grief Is Love:

Like love, it is big enough for the entire human experience. Expansive enough to hold both losses, disappointments, should have beens that weren’t, the needed but didn’t get, unmet hopes, dreams & expectations, the letting go and deaths of what was to have, what is, and all the wisdom, learning, gifts, joys, and celebrations within and harvested from each. 

In addition, they are connected on the same spectrum like day and night, light and dark, earth and sky. Separate and together. Different and the same. That’s why to love is to be open to heartbreak. Everyone you love will change, grow, and die. Nothing stays the same. There is no permanence or protection from this reality. 

Those who resist this and persist in the illusion of safety can give their heart to no one and nothing. Overtime, the walls constructed to keep pain out become a prison that locks the heart in.

Perceiving Grief As Love:

Perceiving grief as love stretches our life and keeps our heart open. Pain is allowed and joy is welcomed. Grief and love ebb and flow like a tide. The shoreline moves as the water extends out and softens the sand beneath it.

“Like love, grief appreciates and feels the beauty and depth of what was lost or let go to make room for what will be.”

The sand is harder just beyond the water’s edge. Sometimes, the water gushes in and for a time removes the beach all together. So too, grief and love rush in and for a time become the entire inner universe, washing, easing, and tenderizing the heart. Allowing grief creates the conditions for love to grow and cultivating love gives the environment for grief to assimilate. 

Grief is not only the response to the death of a loved one. It is the heart’s response to loss. Like love, grief appreciates and feels the beauty and depth of what was lost or let go to make room for what will be. 

Seen And Heard:

Here are some practical things you can do for yourself or a loved one who is experiencing loss through life transitions such as a career pivot, empty-nesting, divorce, caretaking, move, or death. 

Moreover, do something that says I love you and I’m here. Write a love note, buy a gift, tell them. Get creative. How will you show, “I love you and I’m here”? Acknowledge what they are experiencing. Remember important dates. We feel loved when we are seen and heard. Acknowledging dates that matter is a way to witness and give honor to the person and their loss. 

Let Yourself Bring It Up:

Talk about the loss. People avoid saying the name of the person who died or the experience that happened because they don’t want to be a Debbie Downer. It is a relief to hear your person’s name or to have your experience noticed, so let yourself bring it up. 

“Allow the silence. Your presence is the greatest gift.”

Offer specific support. The person hurting often doesn’t know what they need, so let them know what you are willing to do. If you are caring for yourself, ask yourself what you need. Listen to your inner knowing and gift yourself what is requested. 

Just be. You don’t need words to be with someone. Hang out. Allow the silence. Your presence is the greatest gift. 

Freedom In Grief:

Don’t try to fix it. Allow. Let them or yourself be sad. You are not in a rush. Remember, grief is love. Allowing the full range of emotions is generous and expansive. 

However, ask questions. You aren’t supposed to know what to do or what to say. You can ask questions. 

Love is awkward. Grief is awkward. Let yourself be awkward. Nobody has it all figured out. 

In conclusion, grief is love and just as there is freedom in love, there is freedom in grief. You are opening yourself to the full human experience. Allow grief and love to expand your heart as you grow. There is no arrival.

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Lisa Michelle Zega

About the Author:

Lisa Michelle Zega is a Life Coach for Midlife Women of faith who are starting over after the death of a spouse or a divorce and are struggling with sadness and self-doubt. She helps them metabolize grief to retain all the nutrients, learning and wisdom and release the waste, so they can begin again with joy and confidence. 

She was married to a pastor, divorced after 23 years of marriage and her boys stopped talking to her for nearly 6 years. Zega later buried a fiancé 5 months before their wedding day. She now lives with her handsome biker hubby, adorable Jack Russel and creative stepson outside of Los Angeles and enjoys a renewed relationship with her grown sons. 

She’s a devoted Minnesota Vikings fan, enjoys people, loves to hike, read, travel and embraces the fullness of life — the joy, sorrow and all the in between. You can find more about Lisa Michelle at Legityou.com or Lisamichelle.legityou on Instagram.