‘Instead of treating the last act in our life in terms of fear, weakness and helplessness, think of it as a triumphant graduation. Friends and family members should treat the situation with openness rather than avoidance. Celebrate. Discuss. Plan for that final moment.’ Timothy Leary.
One of the most frequently asked questions regarding the loss of a loved one, is when our reader’s close relative has recently died – they ask how can they begin to accept the loss and move forward with their lives?
Elizabeth Kubler Ross, the writer and expert on death and dying, was the first psychologist to really examine the process of grieving. She defined the by-now-famous five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. I think I had probably experienced most of those stages before my father actually died but you may find that you do not experience any of them at all and come straight to acceptance.
The point is that grief is a process. It can be like the four seasons in one day:
flashes of memory, laughter and crushing tears in quick succession.
Sometimes it is as though someone has pulled a rug from beneath our feet as we plummet into darkness.
Ordinary life can seem remote and out of kilter.
Part of us does want the world to stop as the light of our lives goes out.
The first year is the hardest so there are simple things that you can do to help you recover from the loss and move on with your life:
Talk about them to family and friends.
Place their photographs around your home.
Share their lives with others by writing and telling stories about them.
Give yourself the space to grieve, release emotions and sadness.
Set up a small altar space with their photographs, flowers, candles.
If you have their ashes and need to decide where to place them – discuss ideas with family members, meditate on their photograph and ask them when they are ready to be released or where they would like to go to be remembered.
Be positive about their death that this is their time to move one and be remembered by you and their family.
Grief and loss are important aspects of our human life and they need to be accepted.
Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am a diamond’s glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.
When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there.
I did not die.