Many people are familiar with Indie pop star Ingrid Michaelson‘s ability to sing catchy tunes, but did you know she’s experienced profound loss as well? Very few people discuss loss. Many people will happily talk about life and the adventures it brings, but not many people celebrate loss in the same way. Those who experience loss of a loved one typically avoid discussion, but discussing loss, just like one would discuss life, is essential to fix the broken pieces. In one year, I lost my grandmother and my aunt, and I believed that everyone was being taken from me. I recognize the fake smile, the head nodding, and the ability to muster generic replies.
Last year, Ingrid Michaelson lost her mother, Elizabeth Egbert, to cancer. The loss of a parent is indescribable. Michaelson described herself as her mother’s “mini-me.” That bond that Michaelson had with her mother was something special, magical, and beautiful. The loss was, for Michaelson, earth-shattering.
To grieve, Michaelson realized she had to allow herself to feel every emotion, to allow tears to fall from her eyes, to feel her broken heart shattered in her chest, and to surrender to the insurmountable pain. But what Michaelson didn’t do was produce a fake smile, engage in mechanical head nodding (while listening to others), and muster generic replies. Michaelson discussed the loss of her mother. She admitted that the loss was difficult for her. Michaelson said that things felt different, performing felt different, singing felt different, life felt different. She confessed that she missed her mother terribly. She let others know that her mother is her inspiration for everything.
Through discussing loss, Michaelson found strength. She found strength, because with each discussion and reflection, Michaelson realized that her mother was alive. Her mother was alive in the words she spoke, in the memories she shared, in the songs she sang, in each performance – Michaelson’s mother was right there. The broken pieces were slowly being put back together.
When I lost my grandmother, I experienced a tremendous amount of pain, but then I saw Michaelson’s interviews. Because of her interviews, I decided to discuss my loss and to no longer keep it buried inside. Through discussing the loss of her mother, Michaelson found strength. She inspires others experiencing a loss of a loved one. Ingrid Michaelson proves that there is strength after loss.