Is it possible that loss and grief have positive aspects? According to Daniel O’Leary they do. He analyses the link between love and loss and the human capacity to love again: “…we cannot live without love and loss. They are written into our DNA; into the very nature of life itself”.
(‘The Tablet’, 5 November 2011, p.11)
It seems that space is cleared within us by great loss and in this emptiness we can find no comfort at first. We may try to fill it with work or other substitutes. But if instead, we can stay with it and “trust the possibility of … resurrection”, meaning will return to our lives.
This is not a betrayal of the one we have lost; indeed O’Leary brings out powerfully the enduring nature of love: “Loving someone wraps invisible blankets of blessing around both people. The most beautiful and essential parts of us are entwined with those of the other.”
Tennyson’s often-quoted lines about it being better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, are explored more deeply by O’Leary, at the end of this inspiring article:
“Those who have loved and lost, and grown through it all, have already tasted death and resurrection. They have followed their passion, they have risked for love; they have been devastated by loss. And because they loved and trusted life once, the final death will never be a fearful stranger.”
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Sr Kathleen Keane
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