Emily Brontë, the author of Wuthering Heights, experienced multiple losses as a young child. By the time she was seven she had already experienced the death of her mother and her two oldest sisters. She writes in a poem entitled Remembrance:
Cold in the earth and the deep snow above thee,
Far, far removed, cold in the dreary grave!
Have I forgot, my only love, to love thee,
Severed at last by times’ all-severing wave?
Perhaps you have worried you will forget your loved one. Holding on to one’s grief may seem like a way to show love to the person who died. You may want to rejoice when you are able to say the name of your loved one without crying and yet at the same time feel guilty for being able to do so.
When Emily Brontë’s mother died her father withdrew and began to eat by himself. From that time on nothing in the house was changed. Furniture was not even moved. Only a few people ever came to the house. Staying stuck in your grief is not proof of the amount of love you had for the person who died. The very fact your heart aches indicates your love. But that doesn’t mean you are required to feel immense pain forever. Healing indicates your ability to start anew.
Stephanie Ericsson has come to understand her love for her husband was hers and his love for her was his. She writes, “No one, not even you, can take my love away from me without my consent…You knew that you loved me. I knew I loved you. Death cannot take that away.”
Affirm your ability to love. Try writing a love letter to yourself. Write about your love for the person who died and for other significant people in your life. You can even mail it to yourself. It is the love you give to others that can keep you going. Believing in your ability to love will allow you to lesson the grip on grief.