How I Found Strength In Grief

"Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life’s search for love and wisdom.”

 – Rumi

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A little over a month ago I experienced a tremendous loss in my life, I lost one of my best friends. 

Grief was a word and a feeling I had only experienced in small doses. I didn’t understand the feverish, out-of-body magnitude that grief takes on the brain and the body, until this experience. The extreme pain internally and externally felt at times, like I would never be okay again and that I would live in this heavy fog forever.

For the first 2 weeks, it felt like my face forgot how to smile and a frown was beginning to form in its place. Grief is a very out-of-control feeling, like being on a roller coaster that keeps going down after the upside-down loop. There is no doubt I experienced depression during this time and my body and mind were trying to make sense of reality. 

Living in this state, however, did something fascinating to my consciousness—it woke me up. The colors around me seemed more vivid, I heard every lyric of every song that came on the radio, and the sun was not the sun but a glimpse into the realm that my friend had now gone. It was the most present I have ever felt.

This awakening in me that was brought on by sadness, made me look around and see life through a lens of consciousness that kept me lifted and helped me to find my way through the fog; a strength I didn’t know I had. It should be mentioned that the incredible amount of support and love that I received from friends and family members during this time was a massive piece of being able to feel okay again and I am incredibly grateful to have had a support system. 

 
I heard every lyric of every song that came on the radio, and the sun was not the sun but a glimpse into the realm that my friend had now gone. It was the most present I have ever felt.
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I started noticing yellow everywhere early on in my grieving process, creating a tremendous amount of comfort in this color.

As the weeks passed, this open awareness continued and I found myself being able to tune into what I am calling “receiving messages” or signs. Signs that I felt connected to a realm outside of this one. My last piece on seeing 11:11 or little “winks” from the universe was a good way to describe how I felt, however, these “winks” felt like they were actually from my friend aiming to get my attention from a different realm. 

One sign, in particular, that was incredibly vivid has been seeing the color yellow. I started noticing yellow everywhere early on in my grieving process, creating a tremendous amount of comfort in this color. Flash to the month anniversary of my friends passing and my friend’s mom tells me that she spoke to a medium who said that my friend will communicate through the color yellow (how incredible is that?!) When I got the news about my friend, I was wearing a yellow shirt and my friend’s birthstone is citrine—a yellow stone. 

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Another connection has been through music. I created a playlist of songs that reminded me of my friend as a way to remember times together or think of my friend clearly. The songs I chose for the playlist presented themselves distinctively and each one that I selected felt deeply connected to my friend—at times like my friend was showing me the songs to listen to.

There was one day that I was listening to music and decided to see if the band First Aid Kit had any new music. Sure enough, they have 2 new EPs out, I played the song “Strange Beauty” and as the lyrics unfolded I realized the song was about a loved one passing, a heartfelt song about grief. I looked at the clock and it said 1:11 as I was listening. 

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There are tons more examples of this awareness showing me signs over the last month. I feel incredibly grateful to have experienced the grieving process in this way and of course be able to feel connected to my friend. I feel fascinated with this other realm that our soul travels to because I do believe our soul travels somewhere else. Whether it is a body or an object—our soul lives on. Into a new existence that hopefully is kinder and gentler than the last one. 

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For those who have experienced grief and loss, I understand what you have been through. For those who are currently experiencing grief—be patient. Find stillness often and know that our souls want to connect with the world around us, so let them.  

Photos by: Clarisse

Top: Reformation

Skirt: Vintage