Here’s the full quote: “Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” (Jamie Anderson)
This is a very popular idea. Reading it, it sorta seems like the way it is. And it’s true, the epicenter of grief is really love. But whatever makes us think grief could stop the giving of love?
Lucky, my beloved canine companion, died 109 days ago as I write this. Five weeks after he passed, Freya, an elder dog, came to live with me for six weeks. People wondered if it would be hard for me to love, let alone foster Freya because of grief. In fact, nothing was further from the truth. I could barely wait to love on her. And there’s 17 year old Annie, a pooch who needs a home for nine days in November. I await her arrival with eager, open arms.
My love for Lucky is the same love I showered on Freya, the same love I’ll share with Annie, the same love that I feel for the 10,000 things, meaning people, trees, cats, garter snakes, sunbeams, rivers. In the years following my father’s death, a divorce, a cross country move and other significant changes, I questioned my assumptions about loss, grief and love.
Here’s what I learned: love is a lavish spendthrift. Amid tears, a lumpy throat, and that ache we all know when sorrow is a visitor, love goes on loving, giving itself without reservation. Love doesn’t withhold itself. That only happens in the narrative that it can’t be given because we’re bereft.
It’s taken time and sensitivity for me to adjust to the new reality of life without the Luckster, just as it did with the loss of my father and ex-husband. Fair enough. But the idea that grief is love with nowhere to go turns out to be just that – an idea.
At the center of grief is love that is not contained in a body. At the center of grief is love with everywhere to go.
Avec amour, always, Krayna