The Ache of Grief

Photo by Jordan Benton on

I am sure you know it all too well, just as I do: The Ache in your solar plexus that seems to seep from your heart and into your very core; the one that radiates and intensifies as it moves through your body, engulfing all of you; The Ache that wakes you up in the middle of the night for no apparent reason, taking up residence in your soul, holding sleep hostage. It’s The Ache that reminds you that yes, the one you love is indeed gone, never to return.

It’s hard to describe The Ache. Where are the right words to convey the deep sense of longing, the hurt, the loneliness and sadness it is made of? How can any words ever quantify the void that now resides beside you in your bed — occupied now not by your loved one, but by The Ache? And the memories. Memories of your loved one’s face, their voice, their very essence that surrounds you like an aura every minute of every day and every night?

Ebbing and flowing throughout all of our life, The Ache leaves in its wake a profound lack of words to use in describing our unthinkable, yet very real loss. Yet, even though we don’t acknowledge it, the grief we experience because of all of this serves a purpose. It reminds us that our loved one is , indeed, still with us, only just in a different form. A form that is no longer mortal and fragile, but instead eternal and strong. And so, The Ache that starts in our chest and permeates every remote corner of our being, it too, reminds us of the love we still carry in our hearts for the one we’ve lost. It gently taps us on the shoulder and says, “Yes. They are real.” It cajoles us to be gentle with ourselves, compassionate even; to believe not just that our loved one truly was real, but that they are still real, only in a different way. That the one we lost will be with us as we falteringly move forward with baby steps and caution, bravely forging a new life — one without them one by our side, but still forever in our hearts.

It won’t be easy. It’s not what we wanted. And yes, it’s awful and unfair. But we can do it . . . And we will.

Going Forward

Life is for living, as are memories of those who have gone.

It’s our job to keep moving forward, to engage in life and go on.

That doesn’t mean those we’ve lost don’t matter. Neither does it mean we forget.

It just means we have things here to do. God has more plans for us yet.

So with courage and love as our power, we move forward through life on our own.

Just because we can’t see those we love doesn’t mean that we do this alone.

The love that we shared is still with us. We carry it deep in our heart.

And even though we can’t touch them or see them, we’re never that far apart.

Julieanne Gentz, April 2022

The Ache of Grief

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