The death of a loved one is one of the greatest challenges we will face in life. It happens to all of us, sooner or later, and it can be overwhelming. The loss might involve a spouse, child, grandchild, sibling, parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew, niece, close friend, partner, pet or any beloved significant other. The loss can be unexpected and sudden, even tragic, or it can be something one has time to prepare for in advance of the fact.
The circumstances of and reactions to loss vary with each individual. Reactions can be emotional, such as deep sadness or depression, despondency or withdrawal, desperation or even suicidal thoughts. Reactions can be physical, such as sleeplessness, loss of appetite, overeating, loss of concentration, loss or gain of weight. While some people may try to push grief away, it is usually inevitable. Losing a loved one hurts deeply to the core.
The passage of time can help one to recover, but there is no timeline for grief. For some, it seems to last a lifetime; for others the sadness fades with time, and the lasting memories bring comfort. The popular adage rings true that “you do not do grief…grief does you.” There is no shame in grieving. It is a normal and natural process.
Typically, there are three challenges that accompany the loss of a loved one:
How one will handle the emotional pain associated with grief is entirely an individual matter. Some prefer to remain private with their grief and are not comfortable talking with family, friends or professionals. However, after a time of introspection, seeking support from groups in the community or from professional counseling may help to ease the pain.
For anyone who would like to invite the assistance of a trained counselor, almost every community and has licensed professionals experienced in grief counseling. Most health insurance covers some form of mental health treatment or counseling support.
Additionally, hospice programs in nearly every community throughout the United Sates offer bereavement counseling and support groups. To find the location of a hospice near you, contact the:
National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
800-658-8898 or www.nhpco.org
Several organizations offer specialized bereavement counseling or support such as:
For parents enduring the loss of a child:
630-990-0010 or www.compassionatefriends.org
For children dealing with the loss of a parent:
720-941-0331 or www.judishouse.org
Other organizations can be readily found through a basic internet search.
Eternea recommends “Cracking the Grief Code,” an excellent book by Virginia Hummel, that most assuredly will help ease your pain. It shares new perspectives on grief and loss, as well as practical insights for anyone seeking to emerge from death's darkness into life's light with renewed meaning, purpose and inspiration.
A frequent concern during the grieving process is the consideration of an afterlife. Surviving family and friends can feel anxiety brought about by the new void in their lives. Some may find comfort in their religious or spiritual beliefs, and others may question whether their departed loved one is actually in a better place. Further, belief in an afterlife, by itself, is not a remedy for grief nor does it prevent grief from occurring. Even those with the firmest convictions about an afterlife can feel consumed by grief because their loved one no longer exists in “physical form.”
An overwhelming number of reports from people who have had near-death experiences, as reported on this and other websites, indicate that there is nothing to fear in relation to physical death, for death is not the end of one’s existence. Many have reported that deceased family members and friends greeted them as they came close to crossing to the other side. Death marks the end of our physical body, but the start of our non-physical existence. NDE reports affirm that consciousness, thought and feeling do indeed survive bodily death.
These observations are not presented as “religious” convictions. Rather, they are based on empirical findings from credible research by frontier science in its study of spiritually transformative experiences and the nature of consciousness, explained in detail elsewhere on this website.
Studies of after-death communication, such as the comprehensive study undertaken by Bill and Judy Guggenheim, indicate that communication between departed loved ones and their surviving friends or family members is commonplace. Their excellent book called “Hello from Heaven” documents this.
Additionally, reports from hospice nurses and other caregivers affirm the experiences dying persons can often have with the other side prior to death. Several good books have been written on this subject including “Final Gifts” and “Final Journeys” by Maggie Callanan.
Finally, the services of a gifted medium can be most helpful to pierce the veil between the so-called living and the so-called dead. Verifiable information conveyed by the departed loved one through the medium to the surviving loved one demonstrates that departed loved ones are very much aware of what is taking place in our lives in real time, even our innermost thoughts and feelings. Such communications can bring comfort and confirmation during grief. Eternea does not endorse any particular medium, but an excellent resource for this purpose is WWW.Windbridge.Org.
In the face of this evidence, bereaved persons can be reassured that any perceived separation between them and their departed loved ones is a reflection of our limited perception and understanding. This applies to our departed pets as well. We are all eternal beings, joined together eternally through the everlasting bond of unconditional love. We will meet again. Ours is a spiritual dance through eternity.
In his celebrated work Jonathan Livingston Seagull, author Richard Bach wrote about separation and saying good-bye to someone we dearly love. As Jonathan Livingston Seagull is preparing to leave his seagull flock in order to develop as an individual, without the limitations imposed upon him by the flock, he offers timeless wisdom to his best friend Sullivan Seagull, as Sullivan frets over the separation that is about to take place.
Take away time, and all you have is now.
Take away space and all you have is here.
Don’t you think somewhere between here and now,
we will see each other once in a while?