THE BLOG
11/20/2014 01:37 pm ET Updated Jan 20, 2015

Moving Through Grief and Loss

Monashee Frantz via Getty Images

This can be a touchy subject, but the thing is, we've all experienced loss. Leaving this life is a part of life. So why do we try to avoid the emotion loss brings?

Oh wait, I know, because it really hurts.

It hurts to lose someone we love. And this hurt is felt when we lose anyone we've shared our heart with. When we can no longer see them, it hurts. The loss can be debilitating. It may feel so heavy that moving on seems almost impossible.

So now what?

First, let's give ourselves permission to feel. Strip the labels of "good" and "bad" away and just feel. Feel the pain, feel the grief. Let tears become rivers of relief. Those tears are a reminder of how deep and alive our love is, a love that will never cease. Although the one we love is no longer with us in physical form, whether you feel it or not, they are still with us spiritually. Their spirit is still alive. When we focus too much on what we don't see, it can stifle the connection to their spirit that remains... and this disconnection can be painful. So just sit and feel. Feel your heart grow with thoughts of your loved one. Feel the connection that has never been lost. Feel the love that can move mountains, if unleashed, and know that they feel it too.

I offer this advice from personal experience. I lost my dad a few years ago, shortly after we had been reunited after being out of touch for over 15 years. He was with me when my youngest daughter was born and was able to meet three of his grandchildren, which meant so much to them and myself. But just as quickly as he entered back into my life, he was gone.

My dad loved listening to the Beach Boys. Since his passing I've noticed Beach Boys songs playing in the most random places. Whether I'm running errands like shopping, getting my car washed or getting off an airplane and making my way to the luggage carousel, The Beach Boys will unpredictably pipe through the sound system. It's at that moment I know my dad is with me, blanketing me with his love through a song.

Look for subtle reminders like this from your loved ones. The heart whispers, it does not yell, so watch and listen for their special messages carefully. They are with you and sending you love. Maybe it's in the form of a butterfly that just fluttered by, or a particular song that came on while you were shopping. Or a sudden thought that just popped into your head about them. You know what those special connections are, because you shared them here.

Because love vibrates on such a high frequency, sometimes we do not see or hear the signs of love all around us, especially when weighed down by grief. So we must move through the heaviness of grief in order to connect with love again. Like waiting for the storm to pass, you've got to let the grief in and then let it go.

What we can gain from loss.

Loss gives us permission to stop living in mediocrity, where we take love for granted and get our priorities all twisted, and remember that time is precious. Above money -- and all that it can buy -- time is invaluable and how we spend and share it transcends material worth. Take this time to realign your values and invest your time wisely. Just as our bodies have an expiration date, so does everything in the material world. Our spirits and the connection that holds us together -- love -- never die. Continue to invest your time with loved ones still here while honoring the ones that have passed. Celebrate your loved one's life by honoring their memory, paying homage to the things they enjoyed, remembering their best jokes or their funniest moments.

But what about the guilt?

Oh yes, sometimes guilt can come rushing in. Especially if you feel you could have done something to prevent the death of your loved one.

When my dad passed away I often had thoughts of what would have happened if I had gone to visit him the day before. Could I have saved him? Could I have done something?

But now that I have lived through the storm of grief and feel his pure, positive love, I know that the order of life and afterlife is far more expansive than my understanding. Our existence is so much more limitless than we give it credit for. To think otherwise -- to think I could have prevented something that was a part of a far grander plan -- was my ego talking. I know and feel my dad is still very much alive, and he is with me more today than ever. Letting go of the guilt was critical to the strength of my connection with my dad. Realizing that his death was far greater than anything I could control was essential to reconnecting to his love. It is essential for you too.

We live in a world of constant gain and loss, and the common denominator is always love. Love is who we are, love is where we are from and love is how we are all connected. Tap into it and know that the moment when you do, your loved one is doing the same.