Grief is a reaction to a major loss. People can experience grief at the death of a loved one, or if they have an illness for which there is no cure. The end of a significant relationship or even the loss of a job may also trigger grief. It is often a painful emotion. It can lead to depression and other life threatening illnesses if not dealt with respect and patience. Grief should not be ignored or disregarded because it is a natural part of the healing process that allows us to come to terms with a new situation.
People who are grieving may go through many mood changes, have crying spells, trouble sleeping and be unproductive at work. This is a natural response to loss. A vacuum has been created and needs to be filled thoughtfully and not reactively.
As someone supporting a person going through grief, allow the person grieving to air or vent. And listen without jumping in and finishing off their sentences! Often the last thing the person wants to hear is that “I understand”. Just listen and be present as a pillar of support.
It is important to understand that everyone processes grief in his or her own way and time. Some turn inwardly and become silent, while others need to communicate their feelings more openly. However, there are common stages to the process of mourning (and not necessarily in this order). It needs to begin with recognizing there is a loss and eventually accepting that loss.
Often the first emotion to arise is denial and disbelief, a rejection of the truth of the matter. This can make one reactive and defensive. From disbelief, one moves to anger in such circumstances and questions ‘why me?’. Anger blames others or the self for the loss and does not allow for acceptance.
One may become emotional as well. Remember emotion is energy in motion. Together with the loss, our emotions flood our being and sometimes all sense can go out of the window – or the drainpipe!
Guilt is somewhere in the equation also, either before, during or after the grieving. One may wish if only they had refrained from saying or doing certain things before it was too late; wished they worked harder at harmonizing the relationship etc.
There may also be some bargaining going on between the griever and the One up above or others down here! For example, if only God or the doctors could bring the dead back to life and I will promise to do more charity or never be hasty and nasty ever again.
And when no one (up there or down here!) responds to the ‘deal’ the person has to eventually accept the situation.
Time is the best healer and with time one begins to see the profit behind the loss, for example in long term sickness, the end of that person’s suffering may come as a welcome relief.
Although at times we cannot understand why the cycle of events unfold in the way they do, there are reasons for everything. We may not see the complete picture, only part of it and judge it at face value. Let us have the insight, the wisdom to understand before rejecting or resisting.
Let us see life like a river, always flowing; some things have to be left behind in order to make way for the new, otherwise life becomes stagnant and dull. Change is the only constant. Life and death, coming and going are a natural and essential part of the cycle of life.
Pain is natural but suffering is optional. The loss of a loved one will invariably create a wound, but suffering is when I create sorrow for myself by continually ‘going over the same ground’ and feeling like a victim – instead change the focus by sending that soul good thoughts and good wishes. With just a shift in attitude and perspective, I can turn loss into a gain, a mistake into a lesson. The lesson may be a hard one, yet it will be one never forgotten.
Meditation teaches us death of the body is not the end of the person. Matter and souls are both eternal; matter simply changes form. Nothing is truly lost forever. What gets in the way of acceptance is our attachment to people and places and memories. Learning to let go and look forward is a must for the griever.
If we are to be honest, much of our grieving is for ourselves. We sometimes say ‘well they are in a better place now…’ but we ourselves continue to suffer! We wonder more about how we will manage without them. But could we adopt a different point of view? Could we not be happy for them instead? Could we use the experience as a reason to grow and learn?
It’s understandable that from a practical as well as an emotional point of view, picking up the pieces after a loss is never easy but we will change and become stronger through the experience. It will make us more at peace. It will humble us and create compassion towards others when they go through similar experiences. It will make us bolder and wiser in guiding others.
It’s time… to accept the natural ebb and flow of life. Loss is a natural process of life as it makes way for the new. Stop being a victim and instead send love and good wishes to the departed one. Then only can we all rest in peace!
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It’s Time is spreading far and wide! Feel free to forward this wisdom, but to avoid any karmic rebound, please acknowledge its source –
‘It’s Time’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London
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