Dealing with death, loss and grief, and the wisdom it reveals

article and poster design by Brian Thompson.

Everything can (and will) change in an instant. Impermanence is the law of life.

At some point in your life, everything you know and love will come crashing down around you, and there will be nothing you can do but grieve.

Normalcy will be turned upside down. Tears will fall for days, upon days, upon days.

Through it all you will come to realize that no thing can ever be held onto, and that no thing can ever be saved from the inevitable void to which all things will someday return.

You will grieve what you lost. You will grieve what you miss. You will grieve what you will never be able to experience ever again. You will grieve who you believed you were. You will grieve all of the things you’d wished you’d done, but didn’t.

But, none of that will matter any more. No amount of mourning can ever bring back that which was lost.

All that can be done is to cry until your tears can no longer fall, to cherish your memories, and to keep the spirit of the love you shared alive. Your tears will eventually dry, and your sense of loss will begin to fade (as all things do with time), and your new reality will begin to take shape.

This is your new now.

As resistance to your pain begins to subside, and you become accepting of your new now, an empowering realization dawns upon you—life carries on, with or without you. If you open your heart into the emptiness from where the overwhelming sadness once flowed, a true and profound spiritual cleansing occurs.

You realize that no matter what happens, you can not only persevere and endure, but that you can still thrive—despite the loss you once felt to be so crippling.

You realize you are stronger than you ever possibly imagined.

In so doing, you prove your previous thoughts of victimization and self-doubt to be wrong—and this is an incredibly freeing self-realization to have. You see that none of your thoughts are to be believed, and that your true self is beyond any scope of your mind's fearful limitations and projections.

Experiencing the loss of any kind (even if it’s the loss of a job) comes with a powerful awakening—that the little moments aren’t little, and that they’re all we ever truly have. And so, NOW is the single most important moment in your entire life. Don’t take this fact for granted. All we ever have, is this precise moment.

When you become intimate with impermanence and its undeniable presence within all things, all of your judgemental opinions regarding people, places and things matter no more. You become less attached to your opinions of how things should be, and you accept them as they are.

You realize that life cannot be controlled, it can only be embraced. Why fear the inevitable? Love what you have, here and now.

Death and loss teach us the true meaning of unconditional love, so that we can embody its presence into every moment we have, with everyone and everything—including ourselves.

When we open ourselves to the wisdom of impermanence, we see that nothing but a deep reverence, love and respect for life remains.

“In the end these things matter most: How well did you love? How fully did you live? How deeply did you let go?” —Jack Kornfield