For years, I have pondered the true meaning of that question. Why would someone who loves, cares or respects my wisdom ask that question? Clearly they have not experienced a significant loss because if they had that question would never be asked…
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A new year, a chance to close the chapters of 2015 – both the good and difficult times that occurred, some in our control and others that fell our way. For most of us, the challenges of health, aging, personal direction and the feeling of loneliness force us into ruts, losing the ability to maneuver our way in the most direct and passionate way…
“As I am sure you already know, the sense of separation when loved ones die can be very painful. What we may not yet have realized is that just because you can’t see your loved ones doesn’t mean they aren’t with you. You are always connected in your heart. Love does not die. In love, there is no separation. One love, one heart. Just thinking of someone consciously connects you to them. Yes, the parting is hard, but always at some deep level we are all very much connected. And if there are times when you feel as though you’re “stuck” in your grief, be gentle with yourself. Just let the grief be what it needs to be. There is no wrong way to grieve. It’s different for everyone. But while you’re grieving, please do remember to nurture yourself any way you can. Every part of your system is asking for comfort, and now is the best time to answer that call. So be patient with yourself. It does get easier, and it will. Sometimes circumstances are such that you don’t get to say “Goodbye.” Whatever the circumstances, we can find great comfort in the knowledge that God is working His purposes out. Trust in that Wisdom and know that all is as it should be, whether it seems like it or not. Losing a loved one – and even our own passing – will be different for all of us, but no matter how it comes, always and in all ways the Divine Plan is for us to continue to grow and evolve and wake up to the magnificent Being that lives eternally in our heart.” Updated:
I lost my husband Sid ten years ago. I have remarried and I am happy again. It was a long, hard struggle. But I feel like I managed to cross the minefield of grief and emerge as a better person. I know I grew stronger by conquering my grief, but it doesn’t mean that I don’t bear the scars from the worst battle I have ever fought in my life. Grief is very hard work and even a decade after my loss, those emotional scars sometimes come to the surface and trigger an explosion of grief. For someone who has never experienced losing a spouse, it is difficult to explain. On the outside it appears that you have totally moved on and everything is fine. Those of us who have experienced losing a spouse—or anyone we loved– know that is not true. Yes, we have learned to live with our loss and over the years we have found a new life. But still–we sometimes suffer from what I call aftermath. Aftermath, in my opinion, is perfectly normal. But the pain is still very deep, particularly because it can often be unexpected. Grief, to me, is like a minefield that is full of painful explosions. At first they are everywhere and no matter where you step, you will hit one. As time goes on the grief bombs are fewer and farther apart, but they are still there. My husband Sid was a big NASCAR fan. He liked it when we snuggled on the couch and watched the race together. I have to admit I was bored to death seeing cars go in a circle, but he enjoyed telling me about each car and driver. I was glad he wanted to share that with me. One night many years after his death I was at a dance club having a great time. The sound was down on a large television screen above the bar but I noticed a NASCAR race was being aired. Suddenly without warning I felt my self losing it. I ran to the bathroom and cried harder than I had in a long time. Out of the blue it hit me. Sid and I would never watch another NASCAR race together again. Of course I knew that–and had for years. Still that unexpected grief aftermath hurt so much. I have come to understand that aftermath is going to occur from time to time and there is nothing I can do about it. But it helps to know that it is okay–even after ten years. I think I prefer to look at it this way: Sid feels like every once in a while he has to reach out and let me know that he is still with me and always will be. Updated:
Yikes! The holiday season is upon us – how did that happen and where did the year go? Just when you began to enjoy the cooler nights and beauty of the leaves changing colors, the reality of the pending season kicks in. Your hair gets grayer with the anticipation of the stress associated with the season, your calendar begins to burst with obligations and you are literally walking in circles in the kitchen trying to figure out what to tackle next on your never-ending “to do” list. At this moment, how decadent would it be to put all of that behind you and climb into a warm bath with beautiful fragrances, soothing bubbles and truly have the ability to turn off your brain from thinking and your heart from hurting? Or better yet, erase the emotional strain of the past year associated with losing a loved one, learning of yet another friend or family member diagnosed with an illness or the financial constraints causing greater anxiety of the pending season. What if you vow for this year’s holiday season to be different? What if you welcome the holiday season on your terms and embrace the season for you? Whether you are in the tub or sitting on a chair, close your eyes, sit back and envision the holidays ahead – how would you define the next few months? Who would you spend time with? What is best for you and your family? To embrace the holidays means to look at the season in an atypical fashion. For every stressor that keeps you awake at night, think of how the situation can be recalculated or rearranged to eliminate the anxiety: If traveling to family members is stressful because of the time commitment, large crowds and added expense of the season, travel at a different time of the year. If you are known for bringing homemade cookies to an event and you just can’t find time to bake them this year, purchase cookies from your favorite store and arrange them with love on your special serving tray. If holiday gift exchange is out of your comfort zone for whatever reason, you can still attend the event yet opt out of the gift giving. If attending a party alone makes you feel uncomfortable, skip the party and suggest a time when you can spend quieter, one-on-one time with the host. If decorating your house with holiday adornments is taxing on your time or you are just not in the mood, omit them for this year and attend a tree lighting ceremony in your community. If you feel the void of a loved one who has passed or is ill, create a new tradition with friends and family to help avoid the emptiness. If you don’t want to send holiday cards to friends and family, opt out this year – its okay. Changing your outlook on the season is the best way to embrace the joys that are often overlooked. Gather those around you
There is no question about it – accepting the loss of loved one can be one of our most difficult challenges, and yet acceptance is part of the answer we are looking for. As long as we resist what has happened, we cannot move beyond it. It is only when we can accept our loss that we are able to move on with our life. This doesn’t happen all at once, but if we are patient, if we are compassionate with ourself and our need to grieve, eventually – step by cautious step, piece by little piece, we begin to accept what we cannot change. Grief and loss are two of life’s most important teachers. It is only in letting go that we discover what we never lost at all. The love is still there, and it connects us in ways that only love can. That discovery makes it possible to accept what has been so difficult to face. Letting go is key. I find great lessons in the example of the butterfly. It allows the changes to happen. It surrenders to the process. Ultimately, so must we. Then all these elements – all these changes – will be free to mix together and create a new outlook on life. Grief, then, can be the chrysalis in which our metamorphosis occurs. In due time we find ourselves moving into a greater understanding both of ourselves, of our purpose, and of our destiny. Along the way, the innate wisdom that has always been within us is guiding us through the labyrinth of life so we can emerge victorious and triumphant. Thus it is that challenge can be our stepping stone, a means by which our destiny is embraced, our potential is explored, and our victory is won. Updated: