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Grief is Not a “One and Done”

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Helen Condon
Helen Condon

April 16, 2024

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“Just give it time.”

“You’ll get over it.”

“It will be fine.”

“One day you’ll be free.”

“Hope you feel better soon.” 

“Time to move on!”

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera...

Those of us who have lost loved ones know none of these “comforting words” are true; at least, not one hundred percent true. There is a little truth in each statement, at times.

The overarching fact, though, is that we don’t ever “get over” Grief. For instance, I always capitalize the word now, something I didn’t do before.


Once you have stepped through the door of Grief there is no turning back. I was sitting with a group of friends recently and talking about my mission to ease the burden of Grief for others who, like me, have been struck with this pain when I said, “The truth is, you don’t know Grief until you Know Grief. I saw a woman turn around from a nearby shelf of books and nod her head, with tears in her eyes.

She knew.

No matter how strong our religious faith may be, losing a loved one hurts. As a Christian, I am now keenly away that even our Savior, who knew all things from the beginning of time to the end, wept when he heard of the death of his dear friend, Lazarus (John 11:35).

This life-long journey began for me in 2010 when my youngest son, George, succumbed to the large brain tumor we had discovered five years earlier. Astrocytoma turned Glioblastoma and, just like that, a promising young life was at its end. Most of his siblings were able to join his father and me for a day before he died; one son arrived the day after. We buried him and returned to our lives but everything had changed for all of us, forever.

Eight years later my oldest child, Larissa, joined him after battling breast cancer that had metastasized to her liver, lungs and spine. She left behind a child she had decided to have after losing her brother. Violet was just five years old at the time; I attended her Kindergarten graduation alone as her mother was too ill to go.

This time, after she died, I went to therapy. My work provided five sessions so I decided to see what I could do to work through it all. On my first visit, I told the therapist my goal was to stop hurting. He came back with an unsettling response. “What kind of a mother wouldn’t want to hurt when her daughter died?” He then instructed me to go home and allow myself to feel the full force of the pain, assuring me it would help. I fought his counsel for four weeks before taking a deep breath and letting it all in.

I was astonished to discover that it did help! What it didn’t do was send the Grief away; i.e., stop the pain. The surprising thing was that I no longer wanted it to. I was beginning a new journey of understanding, searching to find the Sacred place of Grief in my life.

You cannot Grieve if you haven’t Loved.

Simple as that.

Your pain is actually a Gift; a treasure built on the rock of your love for the one who is gone. Yes, it may not be one we care to enjoy, as a friend who recently buried his dear mother informed me, but it comes with the territory of loving as surely as does the joy of love. And Grief will, I assure you, come to us all.

So I’ve started a movement.

“Find The Joy In Grief.”

Crazy, huh? Maybe; maybe not. After all, we cannot turn back the clock and change the circumstance. We have been left behind and we miss them. We cycle through the emotions – once labeled “stages” – associated with Grief as we try to shift ourselves to a more comfortable place. Sometimes we have control, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we find ourselves struggling to remember, sometimes a smell, a sound, an image or a look-alike intrudes and we are back at Day One.

Let me ask you this; would you rather have not loved at all? Rather have never known them? Would you prefer to be immune to the pain, like, say, a sociopath?

I think not.

So do yourself a favor; feel the pain. Deeply, purely, internally. Let it hurt where it hurts. Watch it swell, grow, move and finally soften as it settles where it needs to be. It is a part of you from now until forever. 

It is the price of Love.

About Helen Condon

After losing 2 of my adult children to cancer I have chosen to become a Grief coach, helping others find their way through the pain of loss.

I have a BA in Education and am a Certified Life Coach. I am dedicated to changing the way we look at and process Grief. Knowing how the brain tries to protect us and teaching it to let us feel free to feel is my Mission.

Talk to me! Let the healing journey begin.

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