Author Topic: Making sense of death  (Read 6822 times)


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Making sense of death
« on: January 24, 2009, 07:25:07 PM »
This is what I have come to learn through grief and death, it is my intention that in some small way offer you some hope through your darkest days. Take from this what you need, what does not serve you let it go.

Making sense of death . . .

When a loved one dies, particularly if suddenly or at a young age it leaves behind a trail of grief, questions remain unanswered as to why? There are often times regret for things said or for things left unsaid. So many emotions, the mind can grasp at constantly as to why this has happened, it just seems such a tragedy which is beyond our reasoning mind.

We each have our own unique individual story when a loved one dies. We share a common bond of knowing what it is like to lose a loved one through death. We each share the journey of grief in our own unique way but the emotional roller coaster of devastation is the same for all of us.

We are born, we live for a time unknown to us and then we die. I like to say we die to the restraints of the physical body and its restrictions within this physical world.

For some the journey only takes a brief moment in time as is the case with the death of babies and children, whilst for others the journey is a little longer but still their life may be cut short of experiencing the full cycle of life – something we all have an expectation of achieving both for ourselves and for our loved ones.

When someone young dies, it is that much more difficult to accept and come to terms with. In fact it seems almost unacceptable to our frame of consciousness, how can someone so young be taken away?  Or why is a baby born only to die? The acceptance is almost impossible for humanity to fathom. It seems like such a tragedy that it can be so much more difficult to recover from.

We are each on a soul journey, we have each agreed at a soul level prior to coming into physical form to share certain experiences with other souls and certain lessons we each need to learn in this school of life.

For some the journey only takes a brief moment in life, for others the journey is long, trust there is a bigger picture being played out that we don’t understand or even begin to fathom.

Each soul who has died has come through to fulfil what was meant to be fulfilled in this lifetime regardless of the age they are at death. This is often times contrary to what our expectations and dreams are in life, particularly in the event of someone dying at a young age. We don’t expect our new born baby, child, brother, sister, husband, wife, mother, father to die at a young age, more so for parents to lose a child – no-one ever expects to outlive their children.
As with our own death, when the time is ready we will have fulfilled our soul purpose for this lifetime.

No matter how brief or how long a loved one’s journey is, we have to trust that this was their soul experience, as much as the grief that we experience as a result is part of our own soul journey in this life. A difficult concept I know for some to comprehend and struggle to accept. Always there are greater lessons for each of us to learn throughout our journey in life. The greater lessons in life usually come to us disguised as tragedies.

In times of death we are challenged to the core, particularly in the case of sudden death or the loss of someone young. We are thrown into the depths of despair, disbelief and we can experience a complete state of shock. We can experience a roller coaster of deep emotions that grip our lives in the most devastating way to the point where we are unable to function on a day to day basis. This is part of the process of dealing with intense grief. We can question our very existence and the meaning of life. We may find ourselves blaming someone else for the death, even being angry at the deceased for leaving us. Our world can feel like it has completely crumbled beneath us, our world can become completely surreal, nothing makes sense to us. Our bodies can go into shock trembling or complete numbness can take place.  These can all be very normal emotions as a result of losing a loved one. Our life as we have known it, in a moment can be completely dismantled and we can feel as if our entire life is destroyed, in our grief we can feel trapped in a dark place with no way of escape. In grief our world can be a living hell with no light of escape. Grief is a terrible state to be in, it is a terrible thing to witness in someone else and we can feel helpless in trying to comfort someone in this state.

Dependent upon the attachment and close relationship with the deceased as to the intensity of our loss, the more attachment and closer the relationship we have the more intense our hearts ache and weep in devastation when a loved one dies.  Nothing else in the world matters accept love, small matters that once captured our attention become insignificant in times of death.

Looking at this from a higher perspective . . .

The weeping within our hearts is a truly beautiful reflection of the deep love that each of us has within us. In times of death we experience this depth of love that resides within each and every one of us, sadly we sometimes have to experience the death of a loved one to actually feel the intense and beautiful love that we have within us.

Like a rosebud – opening to a beautiful full bloom
Our hearts open like a rosebud and we experience the depth of love within us

Again depending upon our attachment and association with the deceased our lives are forever changed as a result of their death. In our loss and grief we often cling to what once was, what could have been. Dreams shattered for our future, resistance to the reality of our loss. Loneliness and isolation play a major part in this journey of grief after the loss of a loved one.

How we process our grief and the support around us often determines our future well being. Do we continue to live in sadness, regret and close our hearts? Or do we dig deep within, discover the beauty that resides within us and open our hearts with more compassion and understanding for humanity? The choice is ours. It is important to have support around you.

How do you deal with someone who is bereaved? What do you say? Offering words of wisdom such as ‘it is God’s will’, ‘you have to be strong’ or going on to say ‘I know how you feel followed by their story’. These so called words of wisdom – whilst well intended are actually the worst possible thing you can say to the bereaved. The bereaved need a safe space in which to release their emotions, they need their feelings acknowledged, not judged nor should you endeavour to try and ‘make them feel better’. What they mostly need is a listening ear and acknowledgement of their deep emotions. The best thing you can do for the bereaved is allow them to express their emotions, allow them to cry, listen to them – I mean really listen to them. Often they can be so traumatised that they can become angry, all emotions are quite normal in grief. For example if someone bereaved tries to express their anxiety and suffering by saying something to you like ‘I feel so shattered, my life is not worth living’ – it is really important to acknowledge what they are feeling. You could respond by saying something like ‘I cant imagine what this must be like for you – I have no doubt that you must feel shattered and must feel this way’. By acknowledging their suffering you are actually assisting them in feeling heard and understood. It is a confusing time and a roller coaster of emotions can overwhelm the bereaved, to the point where they are so confused by this roller coaster of emotions – they need a safe outlet to express and release this grief. By not acknowledging their true emotions and feelings, the bereaved will feel shut down, not validated and will eventually stuff these emotions inside and start to feel more and more isolated in their grief.

There is no right way or wrong way to grieve, the important thing is to allow the bereaved to express their feelings and I cant emphasize enough the importance of actually acknowledging their pain – trying to avoid and deny what they are saying by trying to get them to see things from a different perspective is denying them of their true expression. The bereaved can learn to shut down very easily when people around them fail to give the space and safety without judgement. Avoiding the deceased name is also taboo. Say the deceased’s name often, allow the bereaved to talk about their experience, sometimes they need to do this over and over again in order to make sense of the situation and make it real for them. Giving them this safe space and acknowledging their feelings will truly go a long way in assisting them in their grief. Without this type of support, they can very easily become depressed or physical illness sets in the body.

Through tragedy a window of opportunity for tremendous spiritual growth takes place. A gateway opens to bring more meaning, purpose and peace into your life. Yes peace – this is a difficult concept to grasp when you are in the depths of despair with grief. I am not suggesting for a moment that it is an easy road - it can be one of the most difficult roads to journey along. However if you dare to go within yourself and open to love and surrender the rewards are immeasurable.

The Buddha once said all suffering stems from our attachment - There is a great lesson in this profound statement and is truly one that is worthy of our deepest contemplation in life.

In our attachment to how we perceive life should be we can become gripped in despair, in judgement, gripped in pain and suffering for how we perceive life should be.

We miss our loved ones that is a surety, they can leave a huge empty hole in a broken heart that we think will never be filled or healed.

We only have this ‘moment’ in time, this ‘moment’ right ‘now’ Yesterday is gone, the next minute, the next hour, the next night, the next day is not yet here. Right NOW is all we actually have. What we do in this NOW moment of time determines our future. Sadly, much of humanity remains in the past, or in fear of the future. We can remain attached to regrets from the past, instead of forgiveness and acceptance of what is. We cannot change the past, we cannot predict the future, all we can truly do is simply live in the Now.

There is a greater purpose and a greater plan that we often times cannot comprehend, if we knew all the answers to life’s mysteries there would be no purpose to us being in this physical world. The consciousness of our loved ones lives on in beautiful realms of existence that we have yet to rediscover – yes rediscover for we are just asleep in this physical body and forgotten the truth of who we truly are. Beautiful energy from source travelling along the rocky road of life experiencing life in all its hardships, joys and eventually we must all return to the source of light.

There is so much that we can do for our loved ones who have left this physical world. They have moved beyond the restraints of the physical body to source energy, often times unable to release their spirits from the attachments to their life and loved ones left behind. Our prayer for them should be to assist them in letting go and moving back to the source of love, light and continuing their own soul journey at higher levels of consciousness. We can ask for courage to release them so that they may be released from any attachments to us. We can send them peace, send them gratitude for the lessons they have left behind for us, send them gratitude for all they have given us. Most of all we send them unconditional love

I am not dead . . .

I am not dead
I have just left my physical body in this life
My consciousness lives on

I am free,
I am at peace

I am the wind that moves a storm
I am the soft gentle breeze that gently brushes your face

I am the freedom in a butterfly
Released from the restraints of its cocoon

I am the beauty in the most beautiful flower
I am the soft exquisite fragrance floating in a gentle breeze

I am an ocean of Love
I have returned to the ever lasting source of Love and Light
There is nothing more important than Love

Know that I am in another dimension
 Beyond time and space

My spirit lives on
I am with you always

Have no regrets for I am just a whisper away
We will meet again in this glorious light
Live your life in happiness without regret and sorrow
And Live with Love in your hearts always

© Omanilady

Nothing stays the same in life that is a surety, as difficult as it is to lose a loved one it is a natural state of humanity. Knowing this however, does not ease the burden of grief when a loved one dies.

May I offer these words . . .
In assistance in your own journey through grief particularly for those of you whose journey in grief is still raw in emotion.

May you acknowledge and accept that your loved one’s journey in this physical form is complete . . . their purpose has been completed

May you have understanding and acceptance that their departure
From your physical life is how it is meant to be –

May you experience Acceptance for what is
As opposed to how you would like things to be

From this understanding,
May you experience peace.

May you open your heart and experience unconditional love in its purest form

May you discover the depth of wisdom buried deep within you.
May you take comfort in your cherished memories.
May you experience the joy of remembering your loved one
Without your heart bleeding with heart ache
May you experience joy and love for the rest of your days.



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Re: Making sense of death
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2009, 03:44:27 AM »
"In our attachment to how we perceive life should be we can become gripped in despair, in judgement, gripped in pain and suffering for how we perceive life should be."  Omanilady.

That is indeed the core of the matter.  Or as a friend of mine says: "What you ask for and what you get are two very different things."

How do you deal with someone who is bereaved?

It is very difficult, and we are not all cut out to be able to help a bereaved person, in the way you describe.  Indeed, I think the "ordinary person" is not the ideal to deal with extreme grief in another person, because he or she does not have the training.  Hence, there are bereavement counsellors who at least know what to say or not say, and not put their foot in it.
One empathises with the grieving person, one wants to help, to somehow assuage the grief, indeed one would give anything to have a magic wand at such times to bring back the loved one and dry the tears of the grieving person.

You say: "Grief is a terrible state to be in, it is a terrible thing to witness in someone else and we can feel helpless in trying to comfort someone in this state. "
That is indeed the case.



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Re: Making sense of death
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2009, 10:58:36 AM »
Such wonderful words of wisdom and personal experience.  I am so glad you were able to work through your journey and hope you have some happiness in your life now.  I am trying to grasp the idea of my husband being in a peaceful and wonderful place, knowing one day I will be with him again.  I do feel he is probably watching over the kids and I.  This hole in my life and heart for the kids and I still truly hurt.  I hope that through this journey I can become stronger for my children and make my husband proud.  Keep giving your wonderful insight.  It is greatly appreciated.



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Re: Making sense of death
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2009, 02:05:22 PM »
Thank you for sharing that, knowing and hoping my husband is with me is a wonderful thought. Its funny sometimes when I have a problem, I ask my husband for help and it is just like hes there helping me. I do so wish he were here though.

MOM                        JOHNNY


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Re: Making sense of death
« Reply #4 on: January 26, 2009, 07:35:51 PM »
Omani, did that come from a book? Sounds pretty good, please share the book title if you would.


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Re: Making sense of death
« Reply #5 on: January 26, 2009, 07:45:11 PM »
I think it is hard to make much sense of death, and I dare say many posters here would agree with me on that. 
Will death be overcome some day, in a distant future.  I just do not know.

Meantime, it remains that "undiscovered bourne from whence no traveller returns".

Peace to everyone, and hope.



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Re: Making sense of death
« Reply #6 on: January 26, 2009, 09:25:49 PM »
I enjoy reading your messages.  They have such wisdom and you seem like such a strong woman. 

Since Laurence died on December 24 a few weeks ago I must have been really numb because I was actually doing laundry, starting my Ebay business back up; but in the last few days I am almost paralyzed.  I can hardly function and am just sitting in a chair in my living room with a heating pad on my back (for the stress) and a comfy blanket.  Just reading grief recovery books, my bible.  Somehow I can seem to focus on the books but not on even taking a shower every few days.  My kids are here every other week and with their dad the other 2 weeks so when they aren't here I am even less functional. 

I'm afraid because I have to get back up again and fend for myself and try to make my customers happy and not feeling at all happy myself.  I seem to have a perpetual lump in my throat lately.  I keep telling myself not to focus on the fear of the future, but it is really hard.  I know we are supposed to confront this grief thing, but it seems fear is right at the forefront and I don't know how to diminish it. 

I go to a grief support group every week, but wanted to go to the one my church has, too, which was supposed to be tonight.  I got to my huge church campus with all its buildings and just wandered around asking people if they knew where the group was.  Finally someone told me where and then there was no one there.  I felt like I was walking around all alone in the world crying for comfort and help.

Thank you for listening and being so helpful with your mesages you post.



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Re: Making sense of death
« Reply #7 on: January 27, 2009, 04:56:36 AM »
Hi Carrie
Thankyou and I truly hope that you receive something positive from my messages. There are truly no words of wisdom when you are walking that dreadful lonely road of grief, no amount of words can help. Carrie it is still so soon since Laurence died, it is only natural you will have days when you just feel like a zombie. It is so difficult when you have to get back into life and tend to necessities, I am sure your customers will understand your situation. Fear is very natural along with many other debilitating emotions, be kind and patient with yourself. This is as bad as it gets in life so dont be hard on yourself. I am really pleased to hear you have joined a grief support group, but sorry to hear that there was no-one there - you must have felt very alone and quite helpless. Dont give up, you will find a group or a network of people who can assist you at this really difficult time. My thoughts and prayers are with you, and dont forget that whilst it is just a terrible, terrible place you are in right now, it wont always be this bad. Slowly, some form of normality will start to creep back into your life, then you will have moments when you might actually feel some happiness, or at the very least your mind will have relief from your grief. Slowly, this builds. So hang on, you too are very brave and you will get through this. My thoughts and prayers are with you>
Be gentle with yourself.


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Re: Making sense of death
« Reply #8 on: January 28, 2009, 04:18:44 PM »
Hi kevinjj
I wrote this recently for a memorial (slightly adjusted), however the essence of this is in my book along with many other writings. If you have a look under reccommended Grief books, it is called 'Dare To Grow Through Adversity'. Thankyou for your comments.