Perhaps one reason we don't heal from loss is that we focus too much on trying to accept the absence of our loved ones rather than working to reinforce the connection to those qualities that were most near and dear to us.
An open letter to Lea Michele and all those who mourn the sudden loss of a loved one. It is possible for the worst thing that ever happened to you to become the most important. And it will do so if you can relax into the compassionately mysterious work of grief.
Perhaps we, as a society, need to stop fearing death. To embrace it as being a natural step into another realm. To stop seeing mortality as a failure of medicine to succeed. And to stop using medicine as a panacea for our fear of the unknown.
A caregiver/advocate must understand that he or she may be the only person who is watching the entire treatment process and who continues to see their loved one as a human being rather than as a collection of symptoms or body parts that aren't working properly.
Recent experiences with the declining health of my 93-year-old mother cause me to consider that perhaps even worse than dying young is living to be very old, with little quality of life due to several serious ailments, but not being sick enough to leave this world.
Over the past several days I have had occasion to speak to two individuals about the concept of denial. Which got me to thinking about how loosely the term is used and how careful we need to be in ascribing the behavior to someone else.
Through the deaths of two husbands and a daughter, I have learned that 'Grief' is not just a feeling, but a skill. And though death seems an inconvenient time to practice, it is a time to begin to gracefully embrace something that we all share in common.
As with any experience that propels us into a luminous awareness of life's deepest mysteries, we must eventually step back from the brink, integrate what we have learned at the cliff edge, and get back to our work in the world—that can seem so very dull in comparison.
For at least three years after my husband's death, grief was my one true guide and the guardian of my process for moving forward in life. Thank goodness grief knew where it was taking me, because I didn't have a clue.
In order for holding not to be grasping we must also hold a conversation with the Unknown that begins with what we think we know and journeys into the misty realms of the present and future that do not readily identify themselves.
It's Valentine's Day weekend—which always brings up for widowed persons the question of loving again after loss. Clearly, this is a matter I have avoided because, in surveying my present circumstance, I realize that I have replaced my husband with Apple products, not with a sentient being.
He was fascinated by life after death and eagerly worked to prepare himself for the journey. It's almost as if he saw himself parachuting into a new world. He wanted to hit the ground running and immediately begin to explore his new surroundings.
We are meant to eventually come back out into the sunshine of life. And I can say with confidence that really "working your grief" and allowing it to work on you is one very powerful way through to the other side of sorrow.
The grief journey is a bit like walking the alleyways of life. It's a solo trip because we are the ones who must do the work of reframing what has been lost. If a ray of sunshine flickers in our alley, we have to find it ourselves.
One of my great joys this past year has been allowing grief to unfold naturally. The comfort comes from letting go, not in prematurely forcing something to go away because society's rule said that I should.