Boundless Grief

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If your love for someone is boundless then it shouldn’t be surprising that when you lose them your grief will be boundless. We could say that grief is the price you pay for love. Little love little grief, big love big grief. Acquaintances, public figures, and other people you know pass away all the time, and while these situations might evoke painful feelings of loss and powerlessness they are nothing compared to the boundless grief that confronts you when you lose a loved one.

There is no salve for boundless grief but there are a couple of insights that can instill your experience with meaning. The first insight is that, in the context of boundless grief being the inevitable tradeoff of boundless love, your intense painful feelings are a testament to the importance of the person you have lost, a sort of badge you wear in their honor. Far worse to pass away unheralded, having made little impression on anyone. In this sense your boundless grief is tangible proof that this person mattered, that their existence positively affected you, that their actions carried weight.

The second insight is that, while you are forced to take on the burden of boundless grief, it doesn’t mean you have to let go of the boundless love for the person you have lost. You can continue to love them like you did when they were still alive, just like you continue to love someone even when they live far away or when you haven’t seen them in years. You don’t have to stop loving your loved one just because you have to say goodbye. And they continue to live within you since they inspired that love within you. Your loving actions in the world become the external manifestation of their continued existence.

Boundless grief and boundless love are two sides of the same coin, you can’t have one without the other. While this realization might not lessen your pain the insights that stem from it it can instill a sense of meaning around your loss, and meaning is the essential element for getting through hard times. As Nietzsche once quipped, ‘Those who have a why to live can bear with almost any how.”