Divorce, redundancy, changing job, moving home etc are usually cited among the major causes of stress, but surely the most stressful thing we experience is bereavement. Our relationships with others are what really define our identity and place in the world, and when we realize that one who's been close will no longer be around in this lifetime the impact can be devastating.
I consider myself lucky in not having to face the loss of a loved one until well into my late 30s. Though I had gained significant life experience by this time I was totally unprepared for the trauma I would undergo.
As human beings we tend to crave the security of constancy. When things are going smoothly we wish we could push a pause button and keep them that way. But life isn't like that, change is the very nature of our existence, and our stay in this world is but temporary. On a cosmic scale, it isn't even a blink of an eyelid.
Sometimes the loss is sudden, and our grief is multiplied where we feel there to be unfinished business, eg things we should have said but didn't, and now never can.
Although I'd always taken an interest in Spiritual matters, and always sought the true meaning of life, my losses shook my knowledge to its roots and left me confused and demotivated about the continuation of my own pathway. After some time I came to realize that what happened was as natural as birth and growth, simply the next station along the line.
It is said that time is a great healer, but time can never replace those that have passed on. We do however learn to cope without them, and in facing their loss we gain understanding. Though the loss hurts, and continues to hurt, we come to realize that our tears are for ourselves, for our loved ones have moved on, or more accurately returned home. We are the ones who are on a journey, and we are on that journey because we are meant to be so. We have chosen it, and it has been agreed by God. As such we have a duty to make the most of our time in our own way as our loved ones made the most of theirs.
You may well be offered counseling to help you deal with your bereavement. If you feel it might help, give it a go. But accept only the message that seems right to you. Personally, I would have to reject any notion of coming to terms with the finality of physical death.
Our loved ones live on in our memories. Everything they achieved (and we all achieve many things, even if we don't realize it) lives on, and continues to have influence. But furthermore, there is no death. The concept is ludicrous. In science, matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed. Life is the momentary marriage of a soul with a physical body. The end of life is the parting of the ways of this relationship, with the atoms and molecules that formed the body being transformed and the soul returning from whence it came.
Though our Spiritual nature is largely hidden during our incarnation in order that we may best fulfill our life purpose, it is evidenced for example by our free will, and our artistic and religious interests for which there are no purely scientific grounds. It is also evidenced by those many little glimpses that we call the paranormal.
Not only may we rest assured that our loved ones continue to exist, we can be sure that we shall some day be reunited. But we don't have to wait until the end of our journey, for as Spiritual beings we already inhabit the same realm as those who have passed on. Every day reputable Spiritualist mediums bring comfort to the bereaved by relaying messages from departed loved ones with amazing accuracy. And by simply learning to quieten the ‘lower’ mind we can raise our vibrations and experience direct awareness from the ‘folk back home’.
With this knowledge, accept what has happened. Keep the memories of your departed close to your heart. Think and talk about them often. Invite them to come into your life. Just because they're no longer live in the ‘same neighborhood’ doesn't mean they're no longer anywhere. And resolve to value, and make the most of your own particular life. Ask yourself (ie them) what they want you to do, sit around moping, or get on and make the best of your own journey. You'll know what they say, so get on with it knowing they're sharing the journey with you.
Johnny Finnis is editor of selfhelpsanctum.com , helping you help yourself. Have your say on our blog A Spiritual Voice