When you see a story of tragedy and loss on the news, it can touch your heart in a profound way. When you know the people involved, the tragedy and the pain become very personal.
These experiences of loss change your world. The world is a different place without that person in it, and there is great pain associated with that reality.
Along with the pain, during these times of grieving, you will also experience tender feelings of love, both toward the people who are gone and toward the people around you.
Your feelings of love for family and friends will be more poignant and heartfelt than the love you usually feel. You may feel prompted to express these feelings more freely.
This heightened sense of love, which follows experiences of tragedy, is an amazing and beautiful thing and it can often change how you feel about many of the people in your life.
Many people find that forgiveness is easier while they are experiencing the unique love associated with losing a loved one. Things that mattered before may not seem to matter any more. People may seem more important than issues and it may seem easier to see the good than the bad in the people around you.
Tragedy brings with it deep feelings of love for all the people in your life.
Think back to the months following 9/11. Do you remember how connected you felt to your fellow Americans? Do you remember how suddenly our differences seemed smaller and the things we had in common seemed bigger?
Think about the sense of connection you felt toward the miners in Chile or the people of Japan after the earthquake and tsunami. We all experienced a deeper love for our fellow human beings during these events.
When tragedy strikes, you experience more love for your fellow human beings. You are reminded of the connection we share and the value of your relationships in general.
When someone you know dies, even if it is just an acquaintance or someone you met only a few times, it is still a deeply personal loss and the feelings of love for that person and others are very real.
You may experience feelings of love toward this person you didn’t realize you had. You may be puzzled at the depth to which the loss is affecting you. You may be curious as to what this poignant emotion is all about.
It is about the expression of the love inside of you.
The raw emotion you feel while grieving is an expression of your love for all the people in your life.
Pay attention to this feeling — it is amazing and beautiful. Remember that the pain of loss is tied to the wonder of love. If you didn’t love so deeply, it wouldn’t hurt this much.
Celebrate the love.
Celebrate the fact that you can experience love in this way.
Funerals can be a wonderful experience because we gather in sadness, but also in love for the deceased and each other. The power of our combined love and heightened sense of connection create an amazing spirit there that heals us and comforts us like no other experience can.
When you are in this place, pay attention to what you are feeling.
Sit with your emotions a bit, and let yourself feel the wonder of love.
In Russ Njust’s new novel, "The Alabaster Garden," he writes, “In our struggles to know, to obtain and to become more than we believe we are, many of us have lost sight of our kinship to all life. We have thereby lost touch with the one thing in our beings that truly sees everything in the light of love.”
We often get so busy with the duties and obligations of life, we forget about the deep love that connects us. It often gets set aside.
Tragedy, though terrible and painful, can bring these feelings of love back into your life.
My suggestion, in times of tragedy, is simply this: Focus on the feelings of love and love deeply! Love everyone in your life, in whatever way you can. Treasure every moment you are alive and able to love. Make sure everyone in your life knows how you feel about them and be the love everywhere you go.
In honor of those whose lives have been cut short this week, let’s make the most of ours and fill the world with love on their behalf.
This article is dedicated to Chad Wade and Justin Yates, who died in a tragic plane crash this week. Thank you for giving us a chance to experience love at such a deep and tender level my friends, we will never forget you.
Kimberly Sayer Giles is the founder and president of LDS Life Coaching and www.claritypointcoaching.com and was named one of the top 20 Advice Guru's in the country by GMA. She is a popular speaker and life coach who resides in Bountiful, Utah.
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Kimberly Giles is the president and founder of Claritypoint Life Coaching and 12 SHAPES INC. She is an author and professional speaker. She was named one of the top 20 advice gurus in the country by Good Morning America in 2010. She appears regularly on local and national TV and Radio.