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How to Sit in the Pain of Loss and Accept It without Judgment

Sorrow prepares you for joy. It violently sweeps everything out of your house, so that new joy can find space to enter. It shakes the yellow leaves from the bough of your heart so that fresh green leaves can grow in their place. It pulls up the rotten roots so that new roots hidden beneath have room to grow. Whatever sorrow shakes from your heart, far better things will take their place.” ~Rumi

My long-term boyfriend of 11 years was 38 years old when his heart gave way and no longer supported his life.

I remember the day vividly, I was at work and he called me at lunch. Kind of unlike him as we typically did not talk until after work. I remember taking the time to talk with him, really taking time. You see, when I’m at work I’m multi-tasking 1200 things, but there was something in his voice that made me stop and really focus on our conversation. Several hours later I received a phone call from a close friend who told me my boyfriend had passed. I will never forget the sheer emotion that came over me. It was completely enveloping and debilitating.

I don’t wish grief like that on anyone, yet many have experienced it and we have to find a way to move forward. But, how do you begin this journey? There is no preparation for such a sudden life change. How do you find the will to go to sleep and wake up the next morning without one of the most important people in your life anymore?

There was so much shock surrounding an event like this that at first I went on autopilot to survive. Trying to absorb such an enormous shock was not possible. Nothing seemed real. Of course, I knew the truth deep down, but there was a flurry of people reaching out and helping make the necessary arrangements, providing me food, basically caring for each and every of my needs because I was not capable of doing it. This was not a time for grieving.

After the funeral and meals stopped coming around, the people reaching out slowed and I still wanted to avoid the grief, but it was evident how empty my life suddenly felt and somehow it started to face me.

I felt cheated. I wanted understanding why this was happening. I, gratefully, had not experienced much death in my life…at 37 years old it was quite a feat. But somehow in my mind, this made it worse. Why did the most important person in my world have to be my first real encounter with death?

There was so much emotion surrounding how I felt about this, I was losing myself. I found pity and despair enveloped me like a comfy blanket. I began to act in ways that were very unlike myself. I began to play the “what if” game in my thoughts each day. Once you let it in, it can consume you. I was exhausting myself and sinking further into my own hole. Allowing my mind to create all kinds of alternatives, none of which could actually be true.

I would lie awake at night curled in the fetal position, crying until I hurt. Alone in a room that I had shared so much joy in. My house had become dark and gloomy, just as I felt on the inside. My grief consumed me in a way I did not even realize was possible.

Grieving this way brought a wedge between who I was becoming and who I wanted to be in my life. If you don’t recognize this it leaves you feeling very disconnected.

Please know that there is no “right” way to grieve. The way you feel at any given moment is the right way for you.

In the early stages of grief, you often feel like no one really understands your loss, although people would tell me they did. I even went so far as to try and compare my loss to theirs, always winning out any form of mutual loss we had together because mine was more impactful. I see now how much pain my friends felt, not only for themselves but for me as well. It invoked their greatest fear that it could happen to them.

I found that my friends and family sometimes don’t know if I wanted to talk about it or not and had a hard time figuring out how best to approach me. They didn’t want to cause me to cry and be sad and others felt uncomfortable seeing me in pain. I even experienced people not coming around anymore because it was too painful for them.

The fact is, I never want to stop talking about him. He stays alive with me, in my memories, my heart and a part of my soul. So days turn into months, and the pain increases instead of decreasing. The emotions that come through you are sometimes like riding a rollercoaster.

After many fuzzy months, I began to feel the need to find meaning and purpose. I read as much as I could on grief and losing someone you love, and I was so glad I did. This was the beginning of my journey into healing.

It gave me so much hope because for the first time recognized that, even though I was in all this emotional pain, I was not alone. I could slowly come out of it and begin to heal. Although I was still doing things that were out of my character.

I did not want to be home, it just seemed a dark reminder of what I no longer had in my life. I was going out and within 4 months had begun dating. Looking back…what was I thinking!

Within 6 months I found that I was unexpectedly pregnant.


I found myself wanting…no needing a connection, a deeper connection to who I was and what I wanted to represent in this world. I began to meditate and do yoga. At first, yoga and meditation helped by calming my turmoiled thoughts. When I began to connect to my breath, to breathe more deeply and gently, I was able to feel I had more control over my emotions.

I found that each yoga pose helped me to release stress and open my mind and body to receive love and healing. When I became still and spent time in meditation, it allowed my emotions to flow; I allowed them to surface instead of resisting them or suppressing them.

I learned to sit in the pain of loss and accept it without judgment.

In understanding that I only had to face one moment at a time, I began to cope. But it was more than coping, I was finding my light.

In teaching me to surrender to these emotions and loss, I also begin to write down visions of what I wanted my life to look like. As I continued my quest for knowledge I began to understand that I was in control of creating the life I desired, even if it meant not having my boyfriend with me.

These new thoughts began to empower me and change my energetic vibration. I started to see the impact of my being in charge of how I reacted to each situation. This changed my relationships with everyone I had ever known.

During this time of healing, I realized I needed to forgive the feelings I was harboring about how unfair it was that he was gone. In forgiving, I freed my own life of anger and hurt, and in doing so allowed love, peace, and hope to enter my heart.

If you’re dealing with the loss of someone you love, practice your stillness each day, become mindful of your thoughts. Allow yourself to be sad but more importantly, allow yourself to be happy. It is the gift you can give back to your loved one who is gone and to those still with you.

Grimes, Angie. “How to Sit in the Pain of Loss and Accept It without Judgment” Positively Postitive, July 13th 2017,

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