What does it mean to have a “hole in your soul”? Well, if you are ever speaking to someone who is grieving and has experienced a painful loss, they can describe it to you in full detail.

Bottom line, it is not pleasant, and it is certainly not anything you would volunteer to experience. However, it is a natural part of life, and it is an essential element of grieving.

By definition, to lose something means “to be deprived of or cease to have or retain.” Thus, it makes perfect sense that holes may develop after the death of a loved one because you no longer physically have them in your presence.

In mourning, we suffer all of the ways in which we feel deprived by having to continue on with our lives without our loved ones present. We miss the things that they used to do or that we did together. We miss the sound of their laughter or the way they would sing in the shower or hum along with their favorite tune in the car.

We struggle to fill the void of all of those empty spaces, the hole feeling so immensely enormous that it overwhelms us and leaves us feeling understandably lost.

Moving forwardThe thing about grief is that we have to start picking up pieces and finding ways to move forward.

We are desperately trying to fill spaces and turn back the despair that arrives whenever we are feeling “less than whole.” As many can attest to, death changes us in numerous ways, but one of the most difficult to wrap our minds around is to know that there will always be a space left empty in our hearts.

Why is it there? It’s there because we loved. It’s almost like that hole is reserved for the life we lived with them and the countless memories we shared. That space becomes very sacred, and as time goes on, the hole never closes, but I would argue that it doesn’t feel as cavernous anymore.

Perhaps the reason is because we are choosing to fill the hole with our love, and that certainly comes about as we are healing.

Healing

Remember the old saying, “I can feel it deep down in my soul?” I can’t tell you how many individuals describe their grief journey in this way to me. It’s almost spiritual in many ways, as evidenced by those who turn to their faith for healing while others begin questioning and seeking answers.

Pain has many levels, like a bruise or a scratch (which is tolerable), or the kind that appears to bring us to our knees, unable to breathe, wincing from the intensity of it all. Healing also comes in stages with minor ailments disappearing more quickly and the more grievous wounds taking longer to mend.

The amazing thing is that even when it doesn’t feel like it, healing is happening every day. Sometimes it is so small that we are blinded to our own progress, and yet those around us can distinctly see that we are surviving.

So, how do you fill the hole in your soul? Of course it’s different for everyone, but many choose to stay active within their social groups, reach out to a church community or support group, volunteer and, of course, process the loss either through counseling or with others who may be walking similar paths.

The soul will heal and so will our hearts and minds, thus giving us the energy and the motivation to continue living.

Jenny Filush-Glaze is a licensed counselor and owner of Serenity Community Counseling LLC. Contact her at jfilush@charter.net.

Jenny Filush-Glaze is a licensed counselor and owner of Serenity Community Counseling LLC. Contact her at jfilush@charter.net.

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