What do you do when a loved one dies?
Do you just push it aside, continuing your life as if nothing major happened?
Do you simply go on being a doer, on and on, just like society’s rules and pressures wants you to be?
Or do you stop and take time to honor your loss?
I know I know, it’s much easier said than done in a world like ours, that generally attaches more value to getting than giving, to achieving than to being present and still, to aggressiveness than receptivity.
We live in a society, in which birth is glorified, yet death is negated, as if they weren’t two sides of the same coin, as if death belonged to everybody else but oneself, as if it belonged to either the past or the future, but not the present.
What if there is ever just the present to acknowledge that death is real, pain is real, and both are inherently parts of us, of us as human beings, being vulnerable, being of limitless potential yet of clearly limited possibilities when it comes to our timely existence on this planet.
So, what do you do when a loved one dies?
You might fall into pieces, you might look into the mirror and see another you. You might cry relentlessly, you might feel numb.
You might just need to suppress it all for a while, because reality can feel more cruel sometimes than our tender hearts can bear. And most people around you seem to constantly tell you to either ignore it all, or to get your act together and leave the past where it belongs.
But you know what? It’s all ok: everything you are feeling is acceptable, everything. And in this as well as in most other cases, we are used to value the outer factors and reflections so much more than our inner processes: value other’s opinions, suggestions and advice higher than our own inner world, the only place where our unique truth, our purpose and our reality, our unique perception of life lies.
We are socialized in this way, and this, too, is ok – however, when a loved one dies, it’s time to step aside, to breathe and to kick society’s general approach to grieving and loss in the butt.
So if anyone tells you to get over a loss after a certain amount of time – ignore it. You might wanna visualize an imaginary clown’s nose on the person’s face or do something else in your phantasy to seize those moments of uncalled for advice differently.
If anyone does not accept you just the way you are during those weeks, months or years of grieving as the experience of loss is something profoundly personal it cannot be measured in absolute terms or timeframes – , if they cannot accept you in your vulnerability and with all your real emotions in these times of turmoil, don’t ever think they are right and that something is wrong with you. All your emotions in times of loss are a testimony to the unique relationship you had with your deceased loved one and need to be given space. Feel all your emotions fully, be it rage, despair, anger, sadness…they all have their right to be there, to be fully felt and then released.
Despite of what society tells us, all emotions are necessary and even beautiful. If you open yourself up to fully feel them and accept them, transformation can take place. All emotions paint the picture of your inner life and are necessary to experience life fully in all its glorious colourfulness.
Pain and joy are one, as life and death are one.
Did this article spark your interest? Would you like to read more about how to concretely help yourself in times of grief? Just let me know and I will expand on it shortly. Also, do you have any special tips for these times in life? Feel free to comment below! Thanks for reading.