Dealing With The Loss Of Loved Ones: How To Manage Grief

The pain incurred as a result of the loss of a loved one is the most difficult emotion to deal with. I am not going to presume to be able to take this pain away from you. I can, however, provide you with some insights into what I have learned over my many years of studying life and death.

The most important thing in dealing with loss is that you need to do is to express your grief. You might feel devastated. You might feel angry. You might feel like you’re unable to take another step forward. You may feel that you want to fall in a big heap. You may feel like you have to hold yourself together no matter what.

However loss impacts you, you must find a way to release the pain. Be assured that if you don’t release the pain, it will bring you down somewhere along the line. Pain left inside of you will become destructive and may destroy your health later in life. You must get it out.

This can be done in a couple of ways: either by talking it out with someone other than a person close to you (people close to you will have definitive opinions. You need someone without opinion yet with compassion) or writing down your pain and expressing your grief to paper. This can be done in the form of letters to the one you have lost and if in the case of death occurring by the hand of another, letters to the individuals concerned.

I would suggest a combination of both methods; find a competent professional and a pen and paper. The value of the writing is that you can say anything at all and it’s important that your expression be honest. You can use whatever language you wish as long, as it is true to your emotion at the time. Write it, read and then burn it. Do it as many times as you have to.

Getting it out lessens the intensity of your pain, although it may be difficult to realise this at the time. Some cultures (other than western culture) deal with death in far healthier ways; we in the west tend to tough it out. People are often heard to say after losing a loved one, “I am doing okay”, and other idiots will often be heard to say to the one who grieves, “you will be okay, time will heal it all.” Know that time will not heal it; time (if used properly) will help you to find a way through your pain, but the loss will remain.

The problem that we here on this planet face is that we have very limited amount of understanding of death. I have memories as a child of my parents heading off to a funeral and not explaining anything at all except perhaps “funerals are no place for you kids.” Most of us reach adulthood with no information at all about death, expect perhaps for some vague religious mumbo jumbo. So when someone close dies, we have little or no idea how to deal with it. Where have they gone? Will I see them again? Are they okay? These are just some of the thoughts that arise.

As I have found a deeper understanding of life, I have come to realise that the devastating feeling of loss is there because we look at life from a limited perspective. If we could see the bigger picture, it would not be grief we would feel. With a wider perspective of life after death, we would understand that our loved ones have gone to a wonderful place and they really are okay.

A week or so before my father passed away, we shared some amazing conversations. We both commented that it was a pity that we waited until such a time to speak in this way. In mid-sentence, my father would suddenly become still, a deep peace would spread across his face he would utter:

“Oh it is so beautiful. Nothing matters. Everything is all right.”

A moment or two would pass and he would be back in the room

“What were we saying?” he would say.

He was stepping across the divide and coming back again.

A couple of weeks later back when I was back in Australia, I received a phone call from my sister.

”Dad wants to talk with you. I don’t know why - he is off his head on morphine and we can’t understand what he is saying,” she said.

A moment later Dad comes onto the other end of the phone.

“What’s up Dad?” I asked.

“I am worried about my funeral, mate. You know me. I am not a religious man. I don’t want some minister who has never met me saying what a great bloke I was,” Dad said in crystal clear voice.

“I will do your funeral Dad,” I heard myself say, tears streaming down my face.

There was a moment’s silence on the other end of the phone.

“I accept,” Dad said.

My beautiful dad passed away a few days later. I conducted his funeral service. It was without a doubt the most difficult and beautiful thing that I had ever done.

Work through the process of releasing your grief and pain – it really is going to help – and have faith in knowing that your loved one is in a good place.

Blessings to all,

Peter.