Do You. . .
miss someone who has died, miss their talking, listening, presence, hugs, their understanding of you, touching, quirks, your shared history with them?

Do you cope with this hole in your life, and the sudden waves of grief that come out of nowhere, by keeping busy and taking it one day at a time?

Are evenings hard because you have fewer distractions from your thoughts of grief, and hate coming home to an empty house, or have something to tell or ask them? How about feeling like a third wheel in the company of married couples? Do some friends let you down and new friends surprise you with their caring and understanding? Is it hard to concentrate, and just when you think you're doing better, you are knocked on your feet by heartbreak? Can't sleep because you're afraid of what feeling might come up, once you drop your guard and doze off? Do your doctors put you on all kinds of medications, instead of just listening to your pain? Do these medications make you feel drowsy and more out of touch? Do people come up and say "I know how you feel!?" or "It's God's will," and cheat you of your right to grieve the one you loved, by minimizing it and stigmatizing it?

Well..,

I know how you feel when someone impatiently says to you "When are you going to get over this grief?"
Say to them: "I don't intend to get over the memory of my husband, wife, etc., because I'll always cherish those great memories ,to give me strength to face today. I don't intend to get over anything. I intend to get perspective on those years, to honor myself and the one who died, by living twice as well."

Grief is..

from wanting something you can't have or someone you can't have. Absolute grief is from wanting it - or them.

Grief can be as deep and dense as mahogany, as slow as molasses. Your mind says it's over, while your heart says, 'grieving has barely just begun.' The mind, like wind, flits ahead over all grief, while the heart, like water, carefully fills in every corner of the land of grief, before flowing on. Only when your mind joins with your heart to face the grief together, and honestly does acceptance, that healing truly begins.

Grief is an unleashed psychic power, with no home, and it can beat us, or carry us to a mountain top.

It's a dryness in the throat, a stabbing pain in the heart at the sight of a sunset that can't be shared, and it's bigger than we are, which is the biggest learning lesson of all.

Grief first starts with fear, then in time, it becomes just a hole, in one's life, always met with a sigh.

This hole in your life, is caused by the loved one's death, that can be filled like a garbage can, or cared for like a garden. It can be filled for a while with "why's" and "if only's, with anger without bounds, or guilt without measure; whichs make it bigger, until it becomes the eye of a lifelong hurricane, that casts out self-respect, and character and is driven by a fixation on a single event.

We grow from grief when we feel anger, guilt, shame, childishness, escape, hope, despair, all feelings, free of excess for any one, free of the fear that makes any feeling destructive.

Act from love,

not from fear. This is the key to grieving well. "Am I doing this out of love, or out of fear?"

Filling the hole with forces that keep love alive fills the hole, until it naturally becomes a small scar of a sad place within the soul. The hole heals, and it is put into perspective by being filled like a rucksack with seashell like memories of intimations of immortality;, many little charmed moments, giving tears that remember a moment, instances of nature's beauty, little puppies or kittens, little children, music, courage and an awareness that suffering, is the root of all consciousness.

Keep the vision in your heart, that in life, it is what happens when you are planning something else, that making our hopes for the future, realistic heals.

Life is..

moments, seconds and inches, that change the course of our hopes and dreams. We are learning about life all over, in a different way. A death does not accept our terms, we are humbled by accepting the frailty death lays before our petty arrogance, and vanity.

If more than one death occurs, we know that there is more than one grief. But one death also has more than one grief, each understood in its turn.

We grieve the lack of hugs, being understood deeply, of having lost a beloved witness to our life and history.

We grieve being left alone with double the challenges, having to start over with a clean sheet of paper, just when we feel too old to change.

We grieve that we are not blessed and spared after all. We are not invulnerable, and have not earned any great virtues of hard work, reason, and good manners a life free of any serious loss.

We grieve at the truth of knowing that bad things do happen in life, just when things are going great with your lives.

We stub our toe on reminders, made up of lonely moments that would have been shared - dinner, bedtime, family gatherings, holidays, and trips to the grocery store, when we realize we don't need to look for that can or package of food our dead loved one savored so much.

Each reminder,

triggers an involuntary stream of consciousness of the past, in light of this profound new fact of the death.

In time, we are overwhelmed with the thought that we took the time together for granted, or at least didn't make the absolute most of every moment.

We grieve with a renewed appreciation of what more, could have been. We dream of laughter at the beach, and other places, and don't wnat anyone to spoil this, but then we pop out of this dream.

All of this comes to be a belief that we must live and cherish every single moment, the moment as it is happening, with a real reverence for life, especially for each new day and just enough good health to terrorize the neighborhood, and that the sun is shining on the back of our necks, making it feel warm and good.

We know in the moment as it happens, when you least expect it, maybe redoing the house, relaxing in the yard, or just going for a drive, that it's great to be alive, and you still have family and some friends.

We learn this, as we realize how much we took for granted the time we had with our now gone loved one. We can't give them this belated love and joy but, we must give this love for our own sake to someone or something.

If we can't experience a kind of eternity being with the one we loved, we can experience it by identifying with all of humanity.

We must give this love to ourselves and to those who still live, with hearty support, in spirit from our new angel guide. Many believe this. You can too, if you want.

Grief

teaches us courage in spite of ourselves, and gives us a compassion for anyone who is suffering, whether we want to admit it or not.

We shed our cool pettiness and cold aloofness, to make way for this renewed living. We warm hunched shoulders with the rest of humanity, not by ourselves in our once privileged, lucky little corner of the world.

By keeping the love alive, we can remain open to newness, and keep in check the fear that tells us to close up and dishonor the one who died, by dying with them.

Grief is like paddling endlessly in the middle of a storm, in the ocean, amid black thundering clouds, with waves of grief crashing over the sides of our boat. We find that just by maintaining our ritual of paddling, we live to see improvement. The black clouds turn pale, thunder subsides, a seagull is heard, and, in the distance, we see the tops of palm trees. After weeks, months, sometimes years, of holding faithfully on to our little paddle and boat, we can at last hold onto the sandy beach of a little island.

To grieve and feel, you first need safety, because grief has diminished our expectations down to nothing, and we still live, we take heart. We realized we have survived much of the worse.

The storms become fewer and further between, milder. We never forget who died, but the memories get sweeter. We have survived. We have no fear. We are a fresh garden planted with peace of mind.

Do not try to seek happiness, do not strive for external markers of inner peace of mind. We come to know and love ourselves and humanity, and peace of mind comes and finds us. It is a seed that can't be forced, only cared for, just as we take care of all our emotions.

While we paddled furiously and aimlessly, the hands of great unseen tides carried us gently and surely to safety. The hands of a Higher power.


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James Surkamp
Author And Teacher On Grief Care

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