Grief and Loss
June 15, 2022

Grief is the price we pay for love.

Publishing here this piece I wrote about my new understanding of grief from one year after my Mom’s passing. This was initially written and shared on February 7th, 2022.

My Mom passed away one year ago yesterday. I’ve learned a lot about grief in this last year. A year ago, I felt like I lost any innocence I had when we watched my Mum leave this realm. I felt like my protector and the person with the ultimate unconditional love for me was gone. I’ve not had even one single day that I’ve not thought about my Mom since. A piece of my heart, gone.

Before this year, I empathized with others going through grief, but to experience it at this level was a first for me.

I’ve learned that grief is not a phase. There’s no “grieving period”. There’s just this new lifelong companion called grief. You can tap into it at any given moment if you want to and sometimes it inserts itself at surprising and unwanted moments. At the same time, sometimes you want to hang out with each other for a moment because you’re reconnected to love. You and your companion learn to live in harmony and I suspect this will be a lifelong relationship.

The hole in your heart does not fill in again — it grows back different. It scabs and then scars over into something new and that ‘something new’ needs to learn to live whole again. It needs to retrain muscles and patterns you didn’t even know you had. During the first blizzard of this year, I looked out and thought to myself “Oh, I have to go visit Mum.” I have no idea why, but 11 months in, my brain truly forgot and then on cue, my new companion made an appearance again.

Happy moments are changed permanently as you work out this new muscle. With every happy moment that happens now, there is always one twinge of grief over her not being there to see it or experience the rewards of her work. It was kind of eerie that the very happy Toronto Life article I shared yesterday about mine and Hamza’s wedding was published on February 5th because exactly one year before on Feb 5th, 2021, I finally got to show my Mom my wedding dress, which she said was the only thing she wanted to see. 2 days later, she passed away. Happiness is paired with grief, but over time, they learn to work together making you appreciate the other.

My companion and my family’s companions all look and act different, but they come together and we couldn’t do it without each other. I’m so grateful for them and the deep connection and love we have for each other.

But I believe grief is the price we pay for love. So to have grief at this level is directly proportional to the unconditional love, wisdom, and support I had from my Mom. How lucky am I to be able to even say that? This tax paid through grief is totally and completely worth the eminent love and gifts she gave me.

It’s absolutely awakening and absolutely devastating at the same time. But I suppose I’m not afraid to die at all anymore. I like to think that this is not ‘home’ but rather that I’m living “the incredible human experience” and I’ll be returned ‘home’ at some point to be reunited with the energies of those lost, including my Mum. I look forward to that in some strange way.

For now, the “year of firsts” has come to an end and we’re all ready to live this human experience to the fullest, leading with love along the way. I’ve made it through the worst now, so the rest of this is perfection.

Love you, Mom.

Bailey Parnell
Bailey Parnell is the Founder & CEO of SkillsCamp and was named one of Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women in 2016. Bailey is a 2x TED speaker with over 3.5 million views, an award-winning internationally-recognized entrepreneur, active humanitarian, and one with a talent for helping people develop the skills they need for success. Her work and expertise have been featured in Forbes, Good Morning America, CBC, FOX, and more.

For speaking, media, or a quick chat, reach out to Bailey today.

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