Some people believe, and even teach, that “we cannot recover from grief but can only learn to live with it”. This, in my experience and others I know, is utterly untrue. And a gross disservice to anyone struggling to come to terms with, and heal from, the grief that naturally arises from the death of a loved one.
And what is my experience?
Well, both my parents are dead. Both my brothers are dead (I had no sisters). All the many aunties and uncles I grew up with are dead. Several close friends have died. I’ve witnessed death in car and aircraft crashes. I worked as a gravedigger for three years and have, literally, buried hundreds of people.
I’ve had others, most likely, although it’s impossible to know for sure, die at the end of a Samaritan phone line. And Jenny, my beloved wife and soulmate, passed on six years ago.
Give no heed to what other people think about your grief
What do other people know about your grief and how you should handle it? Grief is far too intimate, too personal, too unique for anyone to be able to dish out blanket, “one size fits all” prescriptions. I’ll share an example from my own life experience.
Jenny and I danced around each other for 32 years before finally recognising each other in an instantaneous, “Oh, it’s you!” moment.
Although I’d been legally married twice, I agreed to both ceremonies to conform to various social expectations. Jenny was the only woman I married (in a ceremony with just the two of us, in the most romantically beautiful of bluebell woods) without expectations, with no agenda other than to love her completely with my whole body, mind, heart and soul.
And I’ve been told that our relationship was a “teenage romance”. Yeah, right …
This was a teenage romance that spanned 34 years, including Jenny helping save my sanity and quite possibly my life, nursing her through an excruciatingly painful form of cancer, injecting her with hypodermic syringes, holding her while she shook with the shock of other medicines being introduced into her system, being with her while her body disintegrated into a skin and bones ghost of her former self that was reminiscent of an 95 year old inmate of Auschwitz, taking her to 100% freedom from pain via massage, physical-emotional-spiritual embracing and even at a distance via phone in the most intimate communion that was beyond anything I could have imagined possible.
The level of intense pain I felt upon her physical death was also beyond anything I could have imagined ever experiencing …
Teenage romance …? Yeah, right … My response, as you may be able to imagine, consists of two words, the second of which is “off”.
You may still miss your loved ones
That’s just natural. Why wouldn’t you if you are human? But to be consumed and incapacitated by grief does no-one any good; and certainly not the one who has died.
Fortunately, it’s possible to include our feelings of wanting to be with our loved ones again in physical form when we realise that love itself never dies.
Love cannot die, as it is timeless and without form
Therefore we can feel the love we feel for our loved ones even when they have dropped their physical bodies.
And this timeless love, to me at least, is the most precious facet of our relationships with the ones we care for, both while they are alive in body and when they have left this world and traveled into that mystery beyond the veil of death. True love can be felt independently from the events of this world; and so the most precious part of them can live with us forever …
Gratitude, healing and Conscious Love
Being grateful for what our loved one’s gave us while they were alive in body is vital to our healing. Jenny gave me more than I can recount here. Her death itself opened me to a hitherto undreamed of ability to feel deep emotions, perceive the unseen realms and forever changed my perception of who I am.
6 steps to freedom:
- Place both hands on the centre of your chest, on your Heart centre, and gently breathe into this physical location.
- Now, tell yourself the truth about (i.e. acknowledge the reality of) your thoughts (i.e. beliefs and judgements), and your whole emotional/bodily-felt experience.
- Accept yourself and your experience in the spirit of gently felt self-compassion.
- Release all painful emotions and negative thoughts, simply allowing them to drop away.
- Relax into the silent stillness of your Heart.
- Give thanks for having known your loved one and for the love that you continue to feel …
And finally, I’ve found when someone we love dies, or leaves us when an intimate relationship ends, one of the most powerful healing questions we can ask ourselves is: “Do I love you enough to let you go?”
Simply practice the above as best you can. No-one can do more than that. With a sincere intention and willingness to be completely free from suffering, over a remarkably short time you’ll come to notice new life naturally emerging from the ashes of the old …
Too simple to be true? I know it can seem that way at first.
But the fact is the process through which we can leave the suffering of grief in the past is exceptionally simple; although sometimes, when we are in the “grip” of grief, it may not feel that easy.
My experience tells me in no uncertain terms that, when we can see clearly through the fog of painful thoughts and emotions, what comes into view is a new and joyful direction for living the rest of our lives.
I’ve described the process of releasing stuck, painful emotions in greater detail, in my book “Break Out of Your Mind”.
Allow the silence of your Heart to heal your pain
“Anyone, if you are suffering from grief, whether following death or separation from someone you love, you can be free from emotional pain. With Leo’s guidance, after three years of all consuming grief, I recovered in less than three weeks. I never thought the pain would go. It left several years ago never to return.”