what is grief:

I am a scholar of grief, I know her well and I continue to learn from her. Yes there are the Five Stages of Loss and Grief, brilliantly defined by author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross in her 1969 book On Death and Dying, but sometimes, even when you embrace and bravely endure these five stages, you're never fully out of her grip, there is not an end point where one can confirm they have completed these stages and are now grief-free, or they are; it's so very personal. I am soothed by literature and stories that allow grief to be part of someone's DNA, which is how grief feels to me. Today I am grateful for Alison Nappi's ideas about grief, she says:
"The truth is there are losses you never get over. They break you to pieces and you can never go back to the original shape you once were, and so you will grieve your own death with that of your beloved lost.
Your grief is your love turned inside out. That is why it is so deep. That is why it is so consuming. When your sadness seems bottomless, it is because your love knows no bounds. Grief teaches us about who we are, and any attempt to crush it, to bury it with the body is an act of vengeance against your own nature. Instead of pretending we are okay, take the time to wail, to weep, to scream, to wander the woods day after day holding hands with sadness, loving it into remission so it doesn’t turn cold inside of us, gripping us intermittently in the icy fingers of depression. That’s not what grief is meant to do. Grief has a way of showing you just how deep your aliveness goes. It’s a dagger shoved down your throat, its handle bulging like an Adam’s apple protruding from your neck, edges pressed against both lungs, creating a long, slow bleed in your chest that rolls down the edges of your life, and you get to handle that any way you want. If you have been sitting on old grief from your childhood, your failed relationships, the loss of a family pet, and any other losses you were unable to fully honor in the past, this left-over grief will also come through the broken damn. Let it. As John Green says, 'Grief does not change you ... It reveals you.' And herein lies the gift that cannot die. It changes the course of your life forever. If you allow yourself the chance to feel it for as long as you need to — even if it is for the rest of your life — you will be guided by it. You will become someone it would have been impossible for you to be, and in this way your losses will live on, in you."
(painting by Autumn Ann)