What is grief to you?

For me, grief is a backpack packed with 200 pounds of large rocks zipped up in its pouch. My backpack is very heavy to cary at times. Knowing I can never put my backpack down, it has, at times, saddened and disheartened me. My backpack has become a permanent part of my shadow.

Some days, I can’t shoulder the weight. It is hard to even function and many times I can’t recall my life without my backpack.

Over time, the load seems to feel lighter, but I still carry the same 200 pounds of rock. With each passing day, my body adjusts. I become stronger and my heart begins to feel again. It may be a week, a month or many years before the heaviness of the load in my backpack is lifted.

Carrying my backpack has forced me into a rebirth of sorts; a rebirth to a different and unrecognizable life that leads to moving beyond something … or someone. Like giving birth, I am laboring through the heavy, dark weight of my backpack to hear the cry of life once more.

For me, grief is a backpack full of heavy rocks that can never be put down. But I am learning to carry my backpack everyday throughout my life.

So, I ask again … What is grief to you?


  • Kimberly C. Paul

    End of Life Speaker, Author & Host of Death by Design Podcast

    Kimberly left her job at a hospice in December 2016, cashed in her retirement and created a new platform that invites everyone around the table to have open conversations about death and dying. She has created a podcast series, Death by Design, which hosts industry leaders in medicine as well as artists, designers, caregivers and authors who are reclaiming their voice around their own experiences with death and dying. Each conversation is meant to inspire listeners to engage in difficult conversations around their own deaths, to actively make decisions about how and where they want to die and begin to change the taboo subject of death and dying into the ultimate gift of connection with family and friends. Death by Design Podcast is in its 2nd season and continues to normalize difficult conversations, discover ordinary individuals making extraordinary differences in their local communities and highlight people who are developing new ways to assist the Baby Boomers as they design their own end of life. Since her book, Bridging the Gap, was published on April 13th, 2018, Kimberly is on to her next adventure as she tours the United States to speak to people. But she is doing it a little differently than anyone expected. In June 2018, Kimberly bought an RV, downsized her belongings and hit the road with her German Shephard, Haven.  Kimberly has named her adventure the “Live Well Die Well Tour” because, she says, “The more I talk about death, the more boldly I feel I’m living life to the fullest.” TedX Talk Speaker https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QcauNT3x2k8 Death by Design Podcast http://www.deathbydesign.com/podcast/ Bridging The Gap, Life Lessons from the Dying http://www.deathbydesign.com/buy-bridging-the-gap-by-kimberly-c-paul/ Live Well Die Well Tour www.livewelldiewelltour.com   You can get into touch with Kimberly to schedule an event in your community, at your church or for a private book readings in your home as she travels throughout the United States on her Live Well Die Well tour at [email protected].