“Death is not the greatest loss in life. The greatest loss is what dies inside us while we live…” – Norman Cousins
I’m wondering if there are tools to help one process the death of a loved one. I believe it does not matter as much as who died, when or where but that they are no longer here. We cannot see them, talk to them or touch them. What do we grieve most then; the touch of them, not ever seeing them again, or the absence of their voice.
- What are we grieving?
- Why are we grieving?
- Who are we grieving?
My mom lived in Puerto Rico for the last 26 years while I lived in New York. She had dementia and did not know me or anyone else for the last few years. Then she was gone. I was motherless! I became fatherless in 1998! I cried for that which will never be and for that which had not been. Yes, I cried tears that filled up my heart to bursting. For me, because she was simply no longer here on the planet with me. Sharing the air, I breathe daily. Looking up at the moon and stars that I loved. All these years I just knew that she was here, only far away which comforted me in some way.
Then one day I was filled with a deep calmness when I realized she was finally at peace, resting and smiling down at me. It was her life, not mine that she lived. It was her life to live as she chose because God gives us all ‘free will. Slowly it dawned on me one day, how we accomplished a perfect teaching as mother and daughter together this lifetime.
Finally, I looked back at our relationship and all that I had learned from her. I felt blessed that she was an amazing teacher. I felt happy that I had chosen her to learn from all that I could. To be the wife and mother, I am today because of her. I remembered her and how she laughed, how I felt laughing with her. The little gifts she always needed to purchase for me when I was visiting her. She had a talent of nourishing me with food and love when it was just the two of us, many yesterdays ago.
“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on…” -Robert Frost
I honored and respected her always even when I felt abandoned by her. Today, I understand it was her grief that she became stuck in when my brother died in a head-on collision by a drunk driver in 1988. It wasn’t me! It was her loss, fear, and sorrow. Fear was the foundation always of her existence, in that she chose dementia to escape into, to survive as long as she did. I recently went and bought her favorite perfume from when I was young, and every morning I spray my space with her and say, “Mom, let’s start the day together!” And off I go knowing she is by my side.
I imagine you are like me struggling with a loss of some kind. It doesn’t always have to be a death. It can be a divorce, a job, a friendship that ended or just that we cannot find where we belong in life. Maybe what we are grieving is not about another but our grief at this time. The simple end to something or someone!
Can it be that we are grieving our loss, our fears, and our sorrow? It has nothing to do with the deceased. Our heart aches and tears run down our face as we try to understand how we will exist without them. The deceased are at peace. But, I can’t imagine even if that is possible the way we carry on about them leaving us. They must feel guilty and sad!
“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time …” – Mark Twain
Whenever I pass a funeral procession, I say a prayer for the living family and friends of the deceased. As well as, a prayer that the living let the dead rest in peace. I have read that everyone handles grief differently. Some have regrets. Others have a fear of death. Some of us get stuck deep in our minds and cannot comprehend the loss, as my mom did. We cannot handle our grief! Maybe it is time to look at the reasons why we struggle with grief in such a heartbreaking manner.
For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one. – Khalil Gibran
- What can we do, when our hearts break apart violently because of the death of a loved one?
- How can we survive the loss of friendship, job, or even a divorce?
- Are there any tools that we can grasp onto which will help us to heal?
Fear of our death is the first tool that needs to be accepted. Life will always end in death for every living person, animal, insect, plant and fish. Death is the only process there is to life. We have all chosen a life experience that must begin and end. We will never have the answers for why a baby dies, or why another life lives to old age crippled with disease.
What we all must comprehend is that we chose a plan and that there is a purpose to each life. The reality is that there is a reason for everything that happens in life. Especially, today when there are so many killings across our world by terrorists, suicides, and death to drug-related deaths. I have read that we choose our life experience to either heal our karma or heal another’s karma! We agree to die at a given moment to help heal ourselves or another member of our family group because life is eternal. There is no death. There is a transition period. We need to express love.
No regrets are the second tool that many will find hard to process. Usually what we regret is an action we did not accomplish. We didn’t visit our parents, offer support to our friend, we were always abusive, negative, confrontational or we just could not be bothered with their drama. Our actions will always speak louder than our words. We all deserve a second chance, a third chance, maybe even a fourth chance!
Even when a baby or child dies suddenly or due to an illness, there can be no regrets. We must remember there is a plan. All we can do is take their death and make something good out of it. Remember you chose this life and everyone in it that travels the path along your side.
There is no loss, brings us to our third tool. Our souls are eternal. Our bodies are our vehicle. How we take care of our vehicle is a clue to how long it will last. Everyone knows how to eat and what to eat to remain healthy – yet we choose consciously to eat what will harm us. Like putting soda instead of gas in a car. We are witness to many celebrities dying of drug overdoses or obesity in some cases. Why are we shocked suddenly, as we say; “What a sin, he/she died so young?” It is not a sin. They did not take care of themselves! Their vehicle was misused and mistreated.
“The only way out of the labyrinth of suffering is to forgive…” – John Green
We must believe that our loved ones visit us in dreams, with signs, symbols, music, smell and coins. Know that the best process to help a loved one who has transitioned is to pray for them. Thank them for the time you shared, the happy and joyful memories you now possess. To continue to send them love. To forgive them if they had any additive behavior. As well as forgiving yourself! Know it was all part of the plan.
I have read that when one door closes another door will open. Divorce, jobs, relationships run a course. One knows when the reason for divorce or leaving a job or relationship is necessary if there is any form of abuse. No one has permission to verbally, mentally or physically abuse us through their addictive behaviors. It is not allowed! Many of us survive abuse to be part of our existence because we feel we are worthy of said abuse. Or, maybe we do not know how to make a change to better ourselves. The addiction in life that dulls our souls is the drama we become addicted to daily.
“Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75 …” – Benjamin Franklin
When we cry, scream, ache deep within with pain it is not for them. It is for us! We hurt! The question is why? Look at it this way, you traveled a life journey with a loved one together laughing, dancing, raising children, maybe working together, or you were a child, friend, sibling, spouse or even a parent. The memories are bountiful. There are pictures, gifts received and given. Likes and dislikes shared. You cried together or wept over a sad movie or event. This life experience may have ended in a fight or not. Either one of you could have become too busy for the other. One of you may have been critical of the others choices. Life moved forward on its own, and you lost touch. It is all normal human behavior.
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself…” – George Bernard Shaw
When we forgive ourselves, we can then forgive others. There is a process to loving the self so that we can then love another. There is no reason to not pray for those we can no longer see, touch or hear. We can ask them to visit us in our dreams. To send us a sign; whether a symbol, coin, smell or memory. Trust me they are still by your side. Believe it, and they will be there for you. Fill the ache within your heart with love for them.
Our journey here is to grow our soul for our soul is the part of us that is eternal. Love, kindness, acceptance, and forgiveness are essential to offer every single one of us a chance to live a life of our dreams.
- What do you dream for you?
- How can you manifest this dream!
- What do you need to change in your life to live your dream?
PRAY! MEDITATE! JOURNAL!