What to do with all that love after a death

What to do with love after a death: creative prompt

When your clients wonder what to do with all that love now

“We had everything ready. The bedroom with crib, clothing, little toys, diapers … everything. And in our minds, we’d already begun to change our lifestyles, our priorities.I quit my work. We moved to a bigger house near the school we hoped our child would go to.  We had made the emotional space, the heartspace, for our baby. And then he died. We have all this love, and everything else we prepared. What are we supposed to do with it all now?” 

Perhaps your client had been preparing for a much-awaited baby who was then tragically stillborn. Or perhaps your client’s deceased beloved had been a part of their lives for centuries, and together they’d entwined their lifestyle, their belongings, their social world, their daily engagement with life. After death has stolen their beloved, some clients need help with naming this sense of “great wasted love that was meant for my beloved.” And, with that acknowledgement of all that love, energy, time, physical stuff … what to do with it now?

Often our society asks our grieving to skip over this so quickly. They’re encouraged to throw out the un-used things, and find something else to do “keep you busy and your mind off your loss.” Flippant, and if it’s no big deal. And there’s an often un-said (though sadly sometimes it is even spoken!) judge-y idea that if they dwell on this process, or keep their deceased loved one’s stuff, they’re “not moving on.” Maybe they’re depressed. Or crazy.

How do you help these clients to name the love – and everything else – that often needs to be re-formed, re-directed, honoured, nurtured, as they grieve and figure out how the wish to live after loss? Here at The Creative Grief Studio Certification Program, we help practitioners learn to begin asking generative questions in areas like this.

How about some of these kinds of explorations?

  • When your loved one was alive, there was a physical person to whom we could give our love, time, money, energy, expression. Now that the physical manifestation of that person is gone, you still have all that love, time, money, energy, and expression. What do you want to do with it?
  • How do you relate to the love you still have for this person — it is still very real, even if the physical body isn’t — now that they are gone?
  • Are there ways that you might be able to see yourself continuing to acknowledge and even grow that love? What might that look like?
  • Who could help you to do that?
  • If you could ask your deceased loved one what they think you should do to with all that, what would they suggest?
  • Are there ways you might like to share this love and other resources with others who may lack it?
  • Who can you imagine might benefit from that?
  • How would you hope they’d benefit? What difference could this make to them?
  • What would your deceased beloved think about others benefitting in this way? And what would that mean to you?
  • Does your relationship with grief change when you find ways to give these things in  honor of your deceased beloved?
  • As you move back out into the world-at-large, do you find it helpful to keep in mind that you are looking for new ways to use this love, time, money, energy, in honor of your dead loved one?