Grief is a form that love takes. In the distinction that C.S. Lewis has popularized between enjoyment and contemplation, grief enjoys love. In grief, one contemplates the loved one and enjoys the love.
I have mulled over grief lately. My conclusions may be best expressed by an analogy to Lewis’ concept of Joy. It is a longing for one knows not what, painful but desired, and the longing for Joy can itself be a form of Joy. It also cannot be forced or manufactured.
Grief though painful is desirable. When you grow out of a grief,you cease to actively feel that love for the departed–the memory of what is being grieved has worn thin. When you notice that you have stopped grieving, you experience that as a loss also and therefore also as a grief. That is the second grieving. And the second grieving usually awakens the first. After both are done, the grief is rare. But when grief still stabs, it is painful but also very desirable, because it brings back the one you miss and your love for them.
At the same time, you mostly cannot and certainly should not aim for the feeling of grief. It is hard to do. And when it is done, it dulls both your ability to do it in the first place and your memory and relationship with the one you grieve. It deadens not only your access, but what is accessed. Grief should never come to substitute for the subject of the grief.