A Counter-Cultural View Of How To Mourn The Death Of A Loved One

Expert Author Lou LaGrand

Grief myths are rampant in western culture. The result is simply that such myths add to the intensity and duration of grief work. This is not to minimize the fact that the work of grief is usually long (much longer than the culture teaches) and arduous. For example, many mourners feel they are being deserted after a couple of months by friends who feel they should be getting back to being their old selves once again.

The focus of rugged individualism and doing your own thing has developed an ethic that pushes the following agenda: have a good cry, get over it quickly, and get back to work-at the same level of competence you displayed in the past. This is easier said than done. Yes, we have to suck it up at times and lean into the pain, but it is illogical to believe that the death of our loved one does not change us. Let’s sort out and look at a more reasoned grief response and how to use it to reinvest in life if you are mourning.

1. Your grief is highly individual. While there are many similarities in mourning, at root we mourn differently due to a host of differences like age, nature of the relationship, sex, previous losses, cause of death, amount of unfinished business, and beliefs to name a few. In addition, although many people get angry, depressed or feel guilty there are many who do not. In short, there is a wide range of normalcy when grief occurs.

Mourn, that is, show your outward expression of grief (what is happening within), as you see fit; it is healthy to do so. Make your grief your own and not be heavily influenced by someone else, whether family member or friend. Of course, you will have to be prepared for the way you will influence them with your behavior and the way they will react to you. Nonetheless, let your grief lead you to the love, character, and goodness of the deceased.

2. Grief is inevitable throughout life. It is an innate process linked to change, which is perpetual. Consequently, grief occurs in a variety of circumstances other than the death of a loved one. For example, friends who move away, change jobs, or act in unexpected ways as well as incarceration, divorce, the break-up of a love relationship or loss of a pet are causes for grief.

The point of importance is that there is little or no preparation for the large number of losses we all will face. And, equally important, our losses are not some form of punishment; they are a condition of existence. Work toward accepting the reality of your loss, not avoiding it.

3. Grief is most often a response to loving well. Sacrificial love is our highest calling and is what gives meaning to existence. We put others before ourselves. Or, as a sign I saw in a store decades ago read: God is first, the other guy is second, I’m third. In choosing love, unknowingly at the same time, we are choosing grief when the object of love is no longer physically present. What needs to be understood here is that death never ends our love. We continue to our affection by learning to love in separation. And many believe, we are loved back from the person on the other side.

4. Grief is clearly a developmental experience. That is, if we do not fight the battle of change by resisting, but allow the experience to transform us, we come out on the other side with a greater appreciation for life, our relationships, and often a new respect for ourselves and our ability to grow. Letting transformation take place is not easy to do because it tests our courage and ability to make wise choices.

Being courageous is not as difficult as it is made out to be: it is boldly doing what you dislike doing at the necessary time. The point of importance is: allow grief to work its way through you and be open to all that it teaches; it will give you a different spin on life as it moves you to the next level.

5. Through it all, be mindful of the fact that grief and grief work is a natural process. Again, I repeat, as difficult and unfamiliar, and searing as the pain of grief may be, it is natural given the circumstances. We are gifted. Don’t ever be ashamed that you are not “strong” as the culture suggests you should be.

When what we cherish is no longer there, when the familiar turns into having to start unfamiliar routines, it is normal to feel as you have never felt before. This is the time we need each other to counter the belief system that says “there is something wrong with me for feeling this way.” See change as a challenge that says you must add new behaviors, not an albatross that pulls you down.

6. There is no such thing as goodbye. In saying goodbye to deceased loved ones the culture teaches it means we will not meet again. It’s over. In truth, we should be saying, “So long, see you later.” Why do I say this? For the following reason: Scientism has long suppressed, distorted, and degraded research on an afterlife. Bias is everywhere. If you carefully study the quality research that has taken place through the years, there is no other conclusion that can be reached except that authentic communication with the dead takes place frequently. Consciousness appears to go on. There is an afterlife. Death is not a wall, but a door.

In summary, be bold and grieve not as the culture dictates but as your inner wisdom suggests. Your grief is natural. It is yours alone because of the quality of your love; it is your change, you own it, so seize the opportunity, alter beliefs if necessary, and choose to start new routines.

You will learn much about yourself, if you are open to the journey; you do not have to be stoic, and grief will visit and revisit many times during your lifetime. Most important, remember that all research implications suggest that there will be a reunion with the beloved, that love lives on, and life is eternal.

Dr. LaGrand is a grief counselor and the author of eight books, the most recent, the popular Love Lives On: Learning from the Extraordinary Encounters of the Bereaved. He is known world-wide for his research on the Extraordinary Experiences of the bereaved (after-death communication phenomena) and is one of the founders of Hospice of the St. Lawrence Valley, Inc. His free monthly ezine website is http://www.extraordinarygriefexperiences.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Lou_LaGrand/67745

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