Reflections on Life, Love, Loss and Grief

This is one of my rollercoaster weeks as it includes son, Harry’s birthday (22), and my mother’s anniversary (1921-2009).

It has also been a week which has seen the horrific bombing in Manchester and a number of terrible tragedies here in Ireland.

I suppose it’s not surprising that I have found myself reflecting on all sorts of issues around life, love, loss and grief. The following are among the many thoughts that have been flitting around in my heart and mind:

#1. The fragility of life is mesmerising. While we need to be very aware of this fragility in order to make the most of every moment, it is something that dances around like sunlight playing with trees in a soft breeze.




#2. To love and be loved brings with it the risk/likelihood of having to deal with loss.

#3. Losses are not objectively categorisable in terms of their level of awfulness. To go down that road is to over-simplify what is a highly complex matter ~ and we need to be conscious that a whole host of factors come into play in terms of how losses are processed by different individuals and that one person may process losses in his/her life very differently.

#4. While there may be competitiveness in the cut and thrust of life ~ competitiveness has no place when it comes to grief and grieving.

#5. We need to recognise that there is no single best way to grieve or to deal with people who are grieving.

#6. We also need to be acutely aware that what may appear like the same loss in say a family context may well be dealt with very differently by the various members of the family. Remember that each family member is unique and has unique relationships with other members of the family.

#7. The extent to which we love someone does not necessarily equate with the grief we feel when they die. We may have a sense that a person has passed on a legacy of strength and that is something that can sustain us through what can appear on the outside to be an overwhelming loss.


Layers of Love


#8. It is impossible to know how anyone will react to the death of a loved one, no matter how expected or unexpected that death is.

#9. Memories of loved ones who have died live on in a host of different ways and cling to all the senses, especially touch, smell, sight, sound and taste.

#10. Memories can be extremely vivid and key moments may remain etched in one’s being for years and years and years.  Those key moments may well involve exchanges with people around the time of the death of a loved one as our senses may be very heightened as we seek to cope with what may seem like the overwhelming.

#11. Life is for living; life owes us nothing; we have no ‘entitlement’ to live to a great age.

#12. Love should be nurtured, treasured, celebrated and scattered to the winds as well as held close to the heart.

#13. The sharedness of life and love, lived to the full and with as few regrets as possible, are anchors that can sustain us through unthinkable losses and terrible tossings of grief.


The Birthday Boy!


Author: socialbridge

I am a sociologist and writer from Ireland. I have worked as a social researcher for 30 years and have had a lifelong passion for writing. My main research interests relate to health care and sense of place.

26 thoughts on “Reflections on Life, Love, Loss and Grief”

    1. seem may not be the best word as sometimes people grieve a short period of time while others take a while thus the grieving process is individual to that particular person.

  1. Thank you for sharing your insights; my experiences working with hospice taught me some of that. And happy birthday to your son–wow, that is quite the zip line! 🙂

  2. Very profound statements and all have their points that each of us may or may not have experienced. Your pictures were very meaningful to me as well ..the picture with life layers especially the center being the heart and the layers we have to protect us..Your sons’ picture life is fragile, unexpected experiences..hanging in the balance of everyday living..Thank You for sharing your thoughts and pictures. Happy Birthday to your son…and being almost Memorial Day ..a time to remember loved ones especially..

  3. Yes grief is something personal and may be widely different for any of us, beautifully said by you Jean and well received. While our heart sinks at the thought of people losing their lives recently in Manchester, we also grief for all the victims of war worldwide whether we realise it or not I think we are affected by the grief felt by other humans. Thank you for your words.

  4. Here it is July 3rd and I’ve been missing your blog for some reason. I don’t know whether it’s technical problems or it’s because you haven’t posted anything. I hope all is fine with you …

    1. Hi Joni, thanks for writing. It’s me who has gone quiet.
      I hope your hubby is doing okay. I seem to remember you saying he was due another op in July?
      Oh and Happy Independence Day tomorrow.
      I’m not sure when I’ll be back blogging again. Things are bit frenetic here. xx

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