Grief is the Price of Love

_Your absence has gone through me like thread through a needle. Everything I do is stitched with its color._ -W.S. Merwin, _Separation_

Grief is the Price of Love

by Dacia Fusaro, LCSW

“Only to the extent that we expose ourselves over and over to annihilation can that which is indestructible in us be found.” Pema Chödrön

Almost 6 months ago, I lost my sweet husband. In that same moment, the life I knew and loved was instantly transformed.

Grief is the price of love, they say. I remind myself of this on days when my grief feels like an uninvited guest that’s outworn it’s welcome. When I fear it will never leave my side. My sadness is but a reflection of the deep love I felt. It belongs. The ability to love deeply and profoundly is but another side of the same coin that lends itself to grieving deeply and profoundly.

Grief has stripped me bare, hollowed me out and stripped away layers of frivolity and excess I didn’t know existed. Its whittled me down to my core essence, revealing an inner strength I’ve only ever caught fleeting glimpses of before. Loss has revealed so much, illuminating a different path forward.

Death is one of the only inescapable, universal truths and yet we shy from it. We shelter so much of the aftermath from sight, perhaps in the same spirit of boot strap grit mentality so many of us attempt to go through our lives with. But grief is a force. It holds its own gravity. It demands to be seen, demands to be felt and there is no intellectualizing our way through it. You don’t fix grief. You kneel down before it and allow it to enter your heart, opening yourself up to it completely in the same way we must open ourselves up to love. We let it in. It demands vulnerability, humility, a complete giving over of the self as we know it.

The only way out is through.

Grief is raw, destructive, unpredictable and messy. It teaches you lessons you hoped never to learn.

As a therapist, I’m equipped with tools and coping strategies but there’s nothing anyone can do to truly prepare you for losing someone you love. Learning how to incorporate loss into our lives is perhaps one of the most painful undertakings we’ll ever do. I fumble clumsily for grace on my best of days.

I am learning to befriend my grief, to lean into it, to embrace it when it comes to call. There’s no other alternative. I’ve learned the more you lean into something without resisting it, allowing the feelings and sensations their natural progression, the sooner the overwhelm subsides. I invite the tears in when they come.

There’s so much wisdom and strength in tears and sadness.. I am learning to let go of my expectations about how my life should be and embrace how life is. This is a constant work in progress.

“You have to bear the unbearable and who you think you are dies in the process.”

On the day I lost my husband, life as I knew it was irrevocably changed. Not only did I lose the love of my life, I also lost our shared vision of the future. I lost who I was when I was with him. That part of me is no more. The continued losses seemed to come out of nowhere for months. I’ve learned to stand back and let each loss go, saluting them fondly as they fade from sight. I know now they never truly belonged to me. What remains, what is eternal, is the love I feel for my husband. I will always love him. Love is immutable, even in death.

Grief is not something to withstand alone. If you are moving through grief and loss, reach out to someone who can help you process.