In the past, during the lengthy winter evenings, people would tell stories and fairy tales. All these stories had a deep meaning, the fairy tales as well.


Nowadays one is quickly inclined to shrug one’s or their shoulders. Who still believes in fairy tales? Yet nothing has been lost of the profound meaning. One of these stories teaches us how to deal with grief.

Once upon a time there was a woman who gave birth to a child of inexplicable beauty. The older the girl became the more beautiful. She grew up into an exceptional beauty.

The mother was extremely proud of her daughter and did everything possible to give her a good education. She dreamed that one day a handsome prince would ask for her daughter’s hand and that perhaps later on she might become queen. And she would be queen mother!

One morning however, the young girl lay motionless in her bed. Passed away in her sleep. The mother was distraught. She had lost her daughter and at the same time all her dreams. She cried and cried. There was no end to her grief. She no longer ate.  She didn’t want to talk with anybody. Cried till she couldn’t cry anymore and then fell asleep, exhausted. That went on for quite some time until one night she dreamt that she was standing at the side of a road at the end of which was  a beautiful gate. From the other end a group of singing people approached. They wore beautiful white clothes and carried a small basket on their arms. Regularly they bent over to pick up something. Now the woman saw that the road was strewn with diamonds.

She watched the group in silence. Despite the fact that they were singing a haze of grief surrounded them. They often looked back at the young girl that followed and who picked up all the remaining diamonds. Her basket was almost full but there were still many diamonds on the road. She looked very worried.

Suddenly the woman recognised her daughter. Something kept her from going to her and taking  her in her arms.

My child

she asked

what are you doing?

Oh mother

said the young girl

I must gather all these diamonds but my small basket is almost full and I do not know how I can bring all the remaining diamonds with me. Besides I have to be in time at the gate. I will never manage it this way.

Why do you have to pick all these diamond up?

asked the mother surprised.

The little girl paused her gathering for a moment and while she sadly looked at her mother she said:

These are your tears, mother, and they must not be lost.

What does this story teach us? As a first reaction we might say that it is insinuated that we may not grieve for a dead person. The tears that change into diamonds refute that however. Grief is apparently very valuable. Some philosophers say about this that a person for whom no tears are shed definitely does not belong in the kingdom of heaven. Our grief however may not be such that it bothers the dead person, and hinders him or her to go their way in the afterlife. In the fairy tale this has been described beautifully by letting the little girl gather all the diamonds that make her lag behind all the others. 

How then can we express our grief without hindering the deceased person on their further path?

First and foremost we must realise that death is not the end and that there is a process of taking leave of the sphere of life in which one was included. When one has truly loved the deceased one would we never do anything to hamper his or her progress? 

When we then remember the deceased person we could do that in a way that one views a flower. One places such a tender flower on open hands. Holding it with clenched fingers would of course damage the petals. In such a way our beloved gets entangled in the clenching fingers, the gripping thoughts of our grieving being.

The following prayer might be of support to us:

Go your own way, my friend.

Go your own way, my beloved. 

Go your own way, my mother. 

Know that I have loved you very much. 

Just as you have loved me much.

I send you, across the boundaries of death, all my love in order that you may stand strongly on the way that you must go. 

I leave you free to go the way that you must go.

Cherish however the memory of me as I likewise cherish your memory. 

In love and gratitude.


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Date: June 27, 2021
Author: Theo Leyssen (Netherlands)
Photo: Adam Małycha on Pixabay CCO

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