A Light in the Forest of Grief

By Marie Langlois, LPC

This is the precious time of year for grievers; daylight savings’ time seems like a gift after the darkness of winter.  Light translates into hope, and hope is what some grievers need to keep moving along the journey. grief is a journey not a destination; the destination is being able to remember the good memories, bringing them forward into a future where you find your new identity through meaning and purpose.

But it is the light in the forest of grief that keeps you moving forward. The songs you hear today, the responsive reading and the litany of remembrance all describe light, from the sun, the moon, the candlelight, the lamp in the window, and your loved one – all are examples of the light that keeps you moving forward, remembering and reliving the relationship you shared. It is the light that illuminates memory and fuels the after-death relationship.

Your relationship with the dead does not end with their death, but it changes because you don’t have their physical presence. Your attention to your grieving and working through the pain of the loss to the light that existed in the relationship is what alters the grief so that your feelings move from “bitter” to “bittersweet” to , eventually, “sweet”. It is when you are able to remember the light in the relationship, the beautiful memories that you shared, that you begin to internalize who your loved one has been for you. These memories become comforting and you will experience a strange but beautiful sense of calm, contentment and peace.

The relationship you have enjoyed with your loved one is the light that is always there for remembering. You can call up those sweet memories at any time. Pain is the portal to all the other feelings you have; working through the pain of the loss helps you to actively access those wonderful feelings and memories that you built and shared in the relationship. Light illuminates memory: the memories of your loved one will be there to support and sustain you as you find meaning, purpose, and identity.