Coping with Grief and Loss

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Kathy regarded her husband as her soul mate.  They had met in college and been together ever since.  They never stayed apart from each other for more than a few days ever since they got married.  Kathy was at the prime of the life, happily married and her practice as a psychotherapist was booming.   It was as if the world was revolving around her.  Little did she know that all things good and bad come to an end. One day, the world suddenly came crashing down on her where her beloved husband suddenly passed away in an unexpected accident.   Kathy was devastated.

She had helped hundreds of patients cope with abuse, grief and trauma of the loss of a loved one.  After years of experience and training, if there was anyone who could better deal with such a sudden and devastating loss, she thought it would have to be her.  But here she was, feeling lonely and clueless of how to go about managing her own grief.  She felt that that the help and support she received from family and friends was inadequate and insensitive at times.

Yes, grieving is a natural process and it takes time for people to come to terms with their loss.  Each person is different and deals with their grief based on their mental and emotional stability and capability.  The depth of the loss experienced is sometimes not fathomable even to the person going through it. The deeper the connection with the person that they lost, the more is the grief.

Granted, people want you come out of it soon, because they care about you and it pains them to see you go through so much hurt.  But their methods to make us come out of it are abysmal.  Whether it is  you or someone you know is grieving, be mindful that all that one needs is love, time and space and not a bunch of advice on how to quickly turn it around.  Remember that it is you that is going through a difficult time,  and if you find yourself amidst those who are offering irrelevant advice, keep them at a distance, because they can make you feel worse.

Intense grief happens because we are not in acceptance that our loved ones have left us.  Besides having the right type of company that supports you as needed, here are a few things you can do to support yourself and accept the loss.

1) The first place to start with is yourself.  Remember you still have a body to take care of and responsibilities to fulfill while you are going emotional trauma.  Make  sure you are eating well, exercising and have a good sleep schedule.  Self neglect makes it longer to come out of the pain.

2) Truly understand all things are impermanent.  The grief of loss is intense when we have not realized our own mortality and that of those who are with us.  Everything that is born has to die. If we understand this one aspect, we are better equipped to handle these situations.

3) Deeply loving someone has to be a liberating experiencing, one that uplifts and fills us with joy.  If you have become entangled and attached to the object of your love, then you become a prisoner of your own emotions.  When that object is no longer here, you feel unfulfilled as the loss leaves a empty space that they occupied in your life.  That can cause intense grief.  Instead, value them for the enhancement they have brought to your life, for the sweetness and tenderness they may have shared with us.  Cherish them lovingly and joyfully after their exit.  This will bring you to a state of acceptance.

When we think of “LIFE” we think of our family, our work, our business, our wealth and whatever else we possess. We indulge in this because we think it will enhance us in some way.  But, essentially all these are just accessories that we get involved, attached and identified with. We are so embroiled in these “accessories” that many us never experience the “LIFE” that we are.  We got so caught up in the movie that we have entirely missed the person that created this movie.  Grief happens because the accessories or the characters in your movie are falling off and the piece of “LIFE” that you are is still here.

In eastern spirituality this is called Maya or Illusion.  The only way to be rid of these illusions is to WAKE UP, shed the ignorance that everything is permanent and understand that life is much more than people and things that you have around you. Having a spiritual process greatly enhances your perception of life and your ability to handle any kind of grief.

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