My grandma and I have a bond I cannot describe. Since I was young I can remember feeling happiness, joy and excitement when I got to go to her house. As I grew, not too much changed. Whether it be making chicken and dumplings from scratch or just having her catch me up on the rest of the family over the phone, I still felt my little boy get excited to be around her. Of course, as I moved away and created space for myself it added distance with my grandma as well. Every call we shared though, she would welcome me right back in and extend open arms without even a trace of guilt.
Now, after long dealing with Parkinson’s she is on hospice care. The feelings I have are immense and a heavy fog has settled into my chest. My eyes well up with tears and words cease to do justice. I am sad.

This is what it looks like for me. It’s not a pretty emotion. It’s got weight and tears and talking about her escapes me. My nose runs and the tears always leave me with a headache.

While I feel sadness right now, my truth is that I too often avoid the sadness. I tell myself a story about sadness. I convince myself that sadness robs me of happiness. I buy into the storyline that it’s a thief that takes from me that which I so desire and leaves me feeling void.

This time around though, maybe because my grandma represented so much to me, I’ve come to see sadness as something more. Sadness is the feeling of loss of something you love.

For me I have the physical loss of my grandma looming. But that is just the outwardly tangible loss. I lose not only a source of unconditional love but also part of the foundation that my sense of love was built on. I lose the grace that she always extended. I lose that presence she had that brought together our family week after week and year after year.

In these losses though, I realize that my story on sadness is not accurate. Sadness is a form or expression of love. To love completely I have to open myself to sadness too. If I think of love as a flow, I cannot avoid the loss and sadness without blocking that flow of love. By embracing sadness and love I let it move such that the sadness comes and goes in due time. At the same moment, my openness to the flow of love allows me to still be a loving presence with my family and gives them a chance to pour love back into me.

I invite you to let in sadness and let in love. If you normally avoid or push past sadness, what is your reason? What story do you tell yourself about sadness?


– By Greg Hawkins

Greg completed his initial weekend in 2014 and will complete the Two-Year Transformational program this year. He believes in the power of being vulnerable to foster authentic and courageous lives. He is a husband, dad of two girls, yogi, blogger, and is a director at an industrial supply company. His favorite activities are dance parties with his girls, getting outside with his dogs or horse and date nights with his wife.


Photo Credit:

A man is seated on the bed in a bedroom. He has his head in his hands and is looking away from the camera. Horizontally framed shot.