It’s Like a Death

We get so attached to our expectations that when things do not turn out the way we’d planned or expected, the results can be traumatic, which can come at great emotional expense due to the experience. It’s like a death.

Just as if your dream or expectation mean just as much to you as a loved one, and when it all comes crashing down (and there is no longer any expectation of turning out like you had planned) then you’re left with all the conditions of grief, just as if someone you loved dearly suddenly died.

We tend to attach everything we are to particular expectations in all kinds of things.

You get psychologically and physiologically attached to everything that you “put your whole heart into.”

The object of your attachment could be anything from a friendship, romantic relationship, material things, spiritual matters, investments, educational or entrepreneurial plans. Really, you can get your heart connected and deeply attached to just about anything, if you have a pumping heart and a thinking brain.

If you’ve loved (been deeply connected to) anyone or anything and you have lost any hope of your expectations coming to fruition about it, you are entitled to your grief. And just as if someone you loved had suddenly died, no one can tell you how to grieve, or how long your grief will endure.

There are some patterns associated with people who are grieving and by looking at how others have successfully (and unsuccessfully) dealt with grief, we can learn better ways to approach to dealing with the grieving process.

The first caveat that can be generally accepted is to avoid trying to replace the object of your affection before you have completed your grieving process. Very little, if any good can come from prematurely jumping onto another like situation, prior to finding a mentally healthy place to approach something new.

If there’s anything we’ve learned from the past, it’s that moving on too soon will only find us smack dab in the middle of all this drama all over again. No one wants that, though it is something we can learn the easy way or the hard way.

So, allow yourself to take as long as it takes to go through the 7 phases of grief.

Briefly, the 7 phases of grief are,

1. Freaking Out

Your world has just been turned upside down, and you did not see this coming. You cannot believe that this thing did not work out like you had planned. You did your best to do everything right to ensure your success. Yet, here you are, all your hopes and dreams destroyed as you can clearly see the rubble. Of course, you’re going to freak out, and no one would blame you because we’d do the same thing, if we were you.

2. Hurt Feelings

There is a great deal of emotional expression that will run the gamut. One minute you will be feeling like the very life is draining out of you, unsure whether you can take another breath, or experience another heartbeat. The pain from your heart spreads throughout your whole body and you find yourself battling depression.

3. Pissed and Pleading

After a time spent dealing with having your feelings hurt to the core and the suffering that comes from that you move into the pissed and pleading phase. You are angry at everything, everyone, whether they were involved or not, and even worse, you get pissed at yourself. You start thinking about what you could have done wrong, or what you could have done better, and while you are fully aware of the unrepairable rubble, you start pleading for a second chance, may even attempt to rebuild something out of sheer will, but you realize at some point you cannot do anything about it. Them, you try to beg, or plead with God for another chance, like Groundhog Day.

4. Brokenness

Breaking, letting yourself crumble to a place where you feel like you are helpless to do anything about what has happened. You resign yourself to deciding that there is life on the other side of this, and now you can re-evaluate and plan for getting better, and if you’re committed to finding a way to move on, you can start to find your new normal.

5. Life Begins to Return

You’re starting to get through the day, one step at a time, and the steps are not quite as difficult as they were in phases 1 through 4. You’re feeling your body, mind, and soul start coming back to life. You are now starting to feel good enough to rebuild a new, more improved version of yourself.

6. Rebuilding a New You

Now you’re back on the path to healthful healing, getting over this particular episode and you start making plans to live a better life by being able to have some increasing clarity on this tragedy. From this vantage point you are able to separate the good from the bad and look to find the lessons and find the hidden treasures, the messages that were only for you, that you could not have been open to or received in any other way, and you find ways to integrate this new awareness into the more evolved version of you.

7. Loving the New You

Your evolution is complete, and you have let go of this thing which you can now leave behind in the past while retaining all that is valuable and/or necessary for the survival of the new you. How do you know you’ve let go? Because you can think about what you lost, and you have no negative feelings associated with it. Loving this new you means you don’t judge yourself for anything that’s happened in the past, you fully love and accept yourself and realize that we’re all just doing the best we can with what we have, and love what is, without judgment.

Anything you’ve been deeply connected with that you have lost is not unlike dealing with the death of a loved one.

If it’s like a death, why not allow yourself to memorialize whatever it is, by honoring it with a ritual, like a funeral. Writing a eulogy might help you to move through the grieving process a little better by honoring that which went before.

Plan on, and allow, yourself to grieve your loss, and don’t let anyone judge you for doing so. It’s like a death, and it’s up to you to look after you so that you can get ready to go on with your life in a more enlightened manner.

Left Behind

You’ve loved and you’ve lost. Sometimes you suffer the most incredible loss of all: A loved one has passed on to the other side and you’ve been left behind.

There is no greater pain of separation. Familiar songs, scenic moments, thousands of triggers immediately smash through your heart and you can feel the blood flowing out of your life, crippling you as you drop to your knees in despair.

There is no darker or lonelier place to be as you are overcome with the thoughts crashing through your mind, the lost opportunities, things left unsaid and an endless repertoire of if onlies…

And no time of year is worse than the holiday season, when songs, shows and sounds instantly take you back to this dark place causing your heart to dissolve into hopeless nothingness, as it becomes never more apparent than this moment in time when may have never felt so abandoned and alone.

Yet, amidst all this pain of separation, your loved one is reaching out to you with everything they can, to let you know

You Are Never Alone

You are never alone and your loved one is not that far away.

If you could hear what they are trying to tell you, you could understand they have never been so happy and they do not feel the sense of loss that you feel because they are always with you. In fact, they’ve never loved you more than they do now, because on the other side they have an unlimited capacity to love, care about you and enjoy every breath you take and every move you make as they walk alongside you every step of the way.

It’s so hard for us to wrap our heads around such an idea because all we can feel is the pain of separation, yet nothing is further from the truth.

If you could just allow your attention to shift to the perspective of your loved one, you would see such a different scene.

You would see your happy, healthy loved one looking their best and feeling better than possible in the dimension where we live our lives. They are free to walk alongside us, see everything, all the while loving us more deeply than ever. Sharing every moment.

Occasionally, they are overwhelmed by your sense of separation and take you in the most heartfelt loving embrace, loving you and every cell of your being. You can’t see them, but they find ways to signal this loving embrace to you the only way they can.

A song comes on the radio, you find yourself in familiar surroundings, you hear their name, or think you hear their voice saying your name, the phone rings and there’s no one there, or a million other possible signs trigger a massive, overwhelming feeling deep within your soul.

And you are loved, so loved that it is unfathomable and not knowing otherwise, the only sense you can make of it is that you have been painfully left behind but you are loved, loved more than ever before.

But it all gets lost in translation because though they can see us, we cannot see them.

If you could just allow it for a moment, the next time you feel this overwhelming sense of feeling coming on, try to see the even through the eyes of your loved one.

If you’re like me, your tears of desperation change instantly to tears of admiration and joy as you are so grateful for your loved one reaching out and loving you in such a miraculous cross-dimensional manner.

Have something to say? They already know, but they are listening right now. Take this time to say it, they’re listening and loving you, waiting to hear your words.

Love and life keep getting better and even more amazing if you would just allow it.

If you’re allowing, here it comes…

Everyone Is Dying

What can I do to express my support to someone grieving over the recent loss of a loved one?

I am so sorry for your loss of a loved one and grieving

As I age, I am seeing my contemporaries – people I have known, followed, admired, loved deeply or been related to – end their journey on this physical 3-dimensional plane.

While I am an incredibly emotional person, I am less adept at expressing my feelings than others to whom it comes naturally.

Due to loss of loved ones in my life, as well as being more spiritually inclined, I have a good understanding about what death brings and a good feeling about what transpires on the other side. So, now, when someone passes away, I am not as sad and depressed about the person’s passing.

Yes, I feel very sorrowful about the separation of the person that I regarded highly in this life and my inability to see them, or interact with them the same way in my experience of this time and space.

But I am less sad for the individual who has passed over. I have a strong sense that everything is better than it’s ever been – or possibly could be – for that person; and that he or she is not far from me.

Still, all around me, people are making the transition, exiting this world as we know it. After all, we all seem to be doing it, as it appears that everyone is dying.

How can I help someone who has lost a loved one?

In many ways, death can be a cruel concept to embrace, especially if it comes as a surprise.

The person who has died is not suffering, but those who remain can be deeply impacted by this immense sense of loss and grief.

How can you help?

Be mindful not to over-extend your concern. Much of the emotional impact being felt by the person struggling with the loss is internal. While they need to feel as though everything is going to be okay, it’s the last thing they want to hear. Being respectful of this temporary state of confusion is important.

So, how do I express compassion without being offensive?
(That’s the tricky part.)
Food

The most meaningful gesture that anyone showed me in my moment of grief was to bring over a meal. Not to stay and visit (for many of us, most of our work is internal. We just need some space to get a grip on things), just to drop off a meal.

Why, you might ask, would this be so meaningful? Because the last thing I had a thought of was self nourishment, as is the case with most people in mourning. Yet it is important that one’s body and mind has the necessary fuel to effectively traverse the processing of this emotional trauma. Your meal can help contribute to their wellbeing as you express your concern and support.

Touch

If you are so inclined and have the ability to do so, extend an opportunity for a little physical contact. Maybe offer your handshake or place your hand on their arm – do not initiate a full on hug, let them do that, if they feel open to that much contact – and speak these words, “I am so sorry.”

Listen

That is all that you say. Let the person who is grieving say anything they are feeling, allow them the space to emote any way they feel is necessary in this moment, without any response, input or correction from you. Not now.

Tears are acceptable

If you have prepared by having some tissues on hand, and they begin to cry, offer them a tissue, but resist the urge to offer counsel. In this moment, just giving them the opportunity to release all the pent up emotion is the greatest gift of all.

You need not be a pillar of strength, if there are tears – and you feel them coming on – you do not have to hold them back, remembering that you are there for them. Do not overpower their release of emotion, and if you must speak about the person who has passed, refer only to a happy recollection with a smile.

Then ask, “Is there anything I can do for you?”

There may be one small thing that you could do for the person grieving that would be significantly meaningful to the person who is grieving.

Keep in touch

Reach out in small ways to let them know that they are in your thoughts, a brief text, appropriate emoticon, card or quick phone call (without overdoing it) can help someone feel better knowing that someone cares in this sensitive time.

This is a very difficult time for anyone – and knowing that someone is there, regardless of how they feel – is highly regarded support.

Sending love and light to you, if have lost a loved one…
I am so sorry.