“It is under the greatest adversity that there exists the greatest potential for doing good, both for oneself and others.” – Dalai Lama XIV

Meaning refers to importance or value. It is how we understand the nature of our personal existence and feel it is significant and purposeful. Meaning-making is a central process in grieving. The pursuit of a meaningful life leads to human flourishing.

People around the world report discovering profound experiences they never expected after loss.  Some embrace only one word to describe their experience, and others can relate to more or all words used. Perspectives greatly vary by person and situation. You decide what makes sense for you.

Others say nothing good will ever come from their loss, although that can change if they embrace healing.  Those who stay open, have had their lives touched in the most unexpected loving ways. Closing the heart can increase and extend suffering. 

Descriptive words used

Meaning-making is the process of how people construe, reflect, understand, or make sense of life events, relationships, and the self. It refers to re-defining, re-constructing, and sense-making in a beneficial or positive way, a griever’s relationship with the deceased and their assumptions about the nature of human existence. Grief can shatter assumptions about any part of life, but a new worldview can be created along with a life that works. Meaning emerges as we process loss and it can’t be imposed.

Growth involves a positive psychological change experienced as a result of adversity and other challenges in order to rise to a higher level of functioning.

Lessons are the truths about us and life we may not have seen without our loss experience. 

Gifts refer to the positive ways loss affects your life after grieving. Experiences you receive without expectation of anything in return.

Blessings in disguise refer to experiences that first appears to be bad or unlucky but is good and seen as God’s favor.

Value of suffering means painful emotions may motivate or even make us feel forced to focus on areas where we need improvement resulting in feeling empowered and experiencing a more meaningful life.  

New or expanded understanding

Accepting life is impermanent
Accepting limitations

Achieving dreams priority
Allowing joy when grieving
Asking for help importance
Awaking to how to really live
Awaking to spiritual possibilities

Believing resilience can be learned
Cherishing the little special moments of life
Communicating to loved ones while alive
Compassion for those suffering
Considering a larger view of the world
Deepening loving relationships
Deepening support for others
Deepening religious or spiritual faith
Discover new life purposes
Enjoying experiences
Existing in the present moment

Expecting difficulties
Expressing love now
Forgiving being healing
Helping others
Honoring a life can be healing

Identifying the ego as a source for suffering
Increased love of nature
Insignificant things no longer matter 
Living fully
Living in the present moment
Making the most of the sweet simple times
Motivation for new knowledge
Opening to new ways of living
Realizing inner strength
Realizing knowing the deceased improved life
Realizing the fragility of life
Realizing the value of memories
Realizing the more we love the greater the grief
Recognizing physical presence not required to love
Renewed appreciation for life
Seeking lessons rather than focusing on suffering
Teaching others about grief and healing importance
Understanding grief before loss importance
Valuing the preciousness of physical form

Valuing time with loved ones