Monday, May 25, 2009

Grieving A Loss

Yesterday, I lost the life of a very special friend.

He was particularly important to me on several levels.

One part of our experiences together is that he was with me when I learned of the murder of another special friend. This was particularly difficult because I became too busy to spend time with him before I travelled and before he was killed. I never got to his funeral or memorial service, and I never "properly" grieved his death.

My friend who died yesterday had planned to share some time together with me and another friend, who is more of a partner in my life's spiritual journey, in July.

That will not happen now, and that particular destination is just a challenge for me to reach.

When we experience any kind of devastating loss, whether it is the loss of a loved one, a dream, or a relationship, feelings may arise within us that are overwhelming or difficult to cope with.

This sense of grief can also occur when we are separated from anyone or anything we have welcomed into our lives; a lover, a friend, a family member, a pet, a job, the closing of our favorite bakery, or our best bartender moving on.

While it may sometimes feel like we are caught up in a never-ending spiral of sadness and emptiness, it is important to remember that the grief we feel is not a permanent state of being.

Also, we are never alone in it.

When we hurt, God hurts at least three times. Once for our loss, once for our ignorance in not seeing what the future holds for us in Heaven, and once for His own sense of hurt when we respond in anger toward Him.

So, God sends us our friends to hold the hands of our hearts when we mourn.

Grief is a major part of the process of letting go that in many ways can be a gift, allowing us to go deeper within ourselves to rediscover our own light, the light of God that is within us, amidst the seeming darkness.

The emotions that accompany any kind of loss can be intense and varied.

A sense of shock or denial is often the first reaction, to be replaced by anger.

Sometimes this anger can be directed at a loved one for "abandoning" us or for not understanding.

At other times, we might feel outrage toward God for what we are enduring.

Humor often kicks in as a defense mechanism. We typically experience moments of strength, faith, and laughter in between. I joked with a dear friend within hours of my loss that he had better not die next, as my track record was not exemplory.

He commented that he can never die as a part of him will always live inside of me.

While there are stages of grief that we go through, (moving from denial to anger to bargaining to depression to acceptance), the cycles of grief often move in spirals, sometimes circling forward and then back again.

While these emotions seem to come and go sporadically, it is important to feel them, accept them, and allow them to flow.

With time, patience, and the understanding of the compassionate love of God, we eventually find our center again and become balanced.

However, as we move through our grief, we may find ourselves reluctant to release our pain, fearing that we are letting go of who or what we have lost.

We may even regard our movement toward healing as an act of disloyalty or giving up.

Knowing that, while the hurt may fade, the essence of what we had and who we loved will have already transformed us and forever stay with us.

If anything, once we are ready for the pain of our loss to subside, their memories can then live more fully within us.

Healing is a part of the spiraling cycles of grief, and in letting ourselves feel restored again, we surrender to a spiritual movement that is part of the dance of life.

So, with love & light, and a fondness for all who are in my life... past, present, and future,


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