“Grief is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.” This was something I heard at a recent grief support program. Read again these words and consider their meaning. We tend to approach everything as if there is something we can “do” about it. We want to fix things that are not right in our lives or in the lives of those we love. It is difficult to accept that there are some things that cannot be repaired. We are taught that if we work hard enough at something, we can have whatever we want. Sadly, this might be true for a new car or a couch, but nothing can bring us the one thing we want – our loved one back. 

People may try to “fix” your broken heart. They might say kind words or bring you flowers or cook you a meal. Their loving actions certainly help ease the pain, but no one can ever take your grief away. It is something you must go through in order to eventually find your “new” you and begin to find the blessings contained in life again. 

And that is the mystery referred to in the quote. There is no timeline, no roadmap, no schedule that can tell you how you will react to the loss of your loved one. There is no way to know how you will experience it, even if you have mourned before. Each loss is different and you are different because of each loss. Embrace the idea that life will be good again. That there will be magical moments and happy, joy-filled times. Not today perhaps, but someday.  

Right now you have yet to uncover the gifts contained in your grief. You do not know the people you will comfort because you have been where they are. You do not know the charities that will benefit from the donations you make in your loved ones memory or the small changes you make in your life due to a new found appreciation for each day.

Grief changes you. It is not something you would sign up for, if you had the choice. Yet it is an experience that will bring you hidden blessings. Accept that you do not fully know what this all means. Know that the mystery is something to hold on to; for faith is the ability to accept the “not knowing.”

Anne Lamott wrote, I do not understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are and does not leave us where it found us.”


Nancy Weil is a leading authority on humor and grief. She serves as Director of Grief Support for eleven cemeteries and is a Certified Funeral Celebrant and Grief Management Specialist. Through her company, The Laugh Academy, she offers products to ease the stress and pain that grief can bring. Bandages for Your Heart on DVD or CD, Laugh for the Health of It on CD and her new book, If Stress Doesn’t Kill You, Your Family Might, can be ordered by clicking here.


Image via Flickr Creative Commons / Kyle Post

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