"On April 19, 2016 my brother disappeared without a trace. Through the longest, darkest year of my life I lived in the abyss of unresolved grief. My grief ebbed and flowed with the changing seasons and I found great comfort in nature. When I looked up and saw the eagle chittering and soaring overhead, or when, in summer, I stood in a farmers field of oxeye daisies on what would have been my brothers 25th birthday, or when, in winter, I felt the cold wind wrap its icy tendrils around me I felt my brothers presence and my grief felt a little less raw. I felt utterly powerless to change my situation. The one thing I had power over was how I met with death. I struggled for months and months with intense anger and I hurt people through my pain. And although I still struggle with forgiveness for those I love who were not and could not have been everything I needed during the throws of grief I am striving the create a space around my pain for love. In a death denying culture grief is a lonely place to find yourself. Yet grief is a powerful healer if you open your heart to the pain. To turn toward the anger, the utter sadness, the numbness, to the love rather than away from it brings empowerment. This quote resonated with me recently "Even if you didn't choose to be visited by death, you can choose how you meet it." We will all go through forms of loss, through losing people we love. It is part of the experience of being alive. Every time I dream of my brother I see his smile and I feel immense joy and love. A dear friend asked me once what have I learned through the loss of my brother and I realized what I learned through it all was that love is the only thing that matters. Love is all. What is love without death? What is light without darkness? I never knew how beautiful it was to be alive until I lost one of the people I love most in this world. Grief has stripped me of all that is not truly me and I continue to surrender to the process of rebirth. For the first time in my life I feel like I really love myself."
- Hannah Meadows