“Awaken Your Senses” by Christine Cherpak


Dear Fellow Grieving Siblings,


What is red, white, and black all over? A broken heart that is striving to let light in and out of its cracks. As we enter the month characterized by love, hearts, happiness, and promise, those of us grieving the loss of our dear siblings unite in experiencing the pains of love. Love truly is a potion: it has the power to lift us up high or trip us to our knees. As grieving siblings, Valentine’s Day is likely to bring us to our knees. While we rhetorically profess that we keep our loved ones alive in our hearts, we have every right to be angry and express our desire to have our loved one beside us on earth. While we can keep love alive by our memories, we find it unfair that we no longer encounter everyday interactions with our brothers and sisters to create more memories. After all, is not love an endless pit? It is impossible to have too much love.


Love is mystical. No one possesses the answer as to why we must suffer the loss of our loved one; we can only serve as living testaments of the well-known phrase, love hurts. Without love, we simply would not have been lifted high. Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta affirms this mysticism when she says, “I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” To experience an instant Valentine—that longed for red rose and chocolate kiss from your dear departed sibling—you only need to contemplate the thought of never having loved your sibling. It is so repulsive that it makes grief look rosy.


Please let me know if you have any suggestions and/or comments. And do not hesitate to let me know if I can be of any assistance. Also, consider submitting your own work of art as a feature for one of our monthly pieces. Establishing a memorial foundation in honor of your loved one is also a work of creation. If you would like your organization to be highlighted be sure to provide us with the details!






“When those you love deeply reject you, leave you, or die, your heart will be broken. But that should not hold you back from loving deeply. The pain that comes from deep love makes your love ever more fruitful.” ~ Henri Nouwen


This Valentine’s day, I encourage you to celebrate your love for your sibling by lighting a special candle. Gather with family and friends to complete this tribute. Provide each participant with a piece of wax. Melt the individual wax pieces into a single pillar and insert a wick to form a candle. Once created, gather around the candle and light it. Let the flame flicker and cackle as memories warm your hearts, tears trickle down your faces, and love abounds.