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Death of a Loved One

I sang the song Asi’ Sera tonight in church and was keenly aware of the appropriate message of this song for talking about death in a Soulful context. The words translate:

We come to live
We come to love
We come to pass away
And to continue on the journey.

The greatest gift a life of Faith has given me, has been the knowing that life continues on after death. This knowing allows me to honor another’s journey as being perfect for them. I can rest in their birth, their death, and their continued form of Soul unfolding. It also gets me off the hook from any form of judging how one dies.

There are many ways to leave this world, some more creative and vivid than others and yet the result is the same. Whether for a few minutes, months, years, decades or into old age, our beloved lived, loved, and passed away to continue on their journey. This too is true whether the death is perceived as tragic, self-inflicted, at the hands of another, or through an illness. Life is, death is, and the continuation of life after death is.

I have said good-bye to animals, friends, colleagues, teachers, mentors, and family members. What I have learned about death is the impact of each is different upon me and how I respond is different. I do, however, make a point of honoring the life of someone I have loved; I don’t keep it to myself. Recognizing the life and gifts of another feeds my Soul and is often balm for another’s.  It says in some way “the human journey matters and this one in particular demonstrated love and impact for me.”

And I remain open. I have received visits in my dreams from loved ones on the other side. My beloved grandmother who I deeply loved visited me for decades in dream conversations. Each conversation was a reminder of the love she held for me. My dad has visited me in dreams, messing with my telephone system, having my attention look at the clock at 10:14 (his birthday), and visited me as an apparition once when walking my dog he had a close relationship with.

In multiple-dimensional Life, there is much activity in the realms of the seen and the unseen and what I practice with my daily spiritual practice is seeing the Good of God in all of it. The Universe if friendly and wants to remind me of how deeply I am loved, and so I let it, recognize it, receive it, and share it.

Self care is essential with the death of a loved one. I have found it essential to reach out my unique community for support. I must ASK for it. I know it can be hard in the midst of grief to ask for what I want, but this is part of the self-care process. I have learned that people who love me want to support me, they often don’t know how.  I have made a list of ways I can be supported through the grieving process:

Prayer. I can ask my friends, church community, anonymous prayer lines, to pray for my strength when I feel like I don’t have it.

Food. I can ask a dear friend to coordinate food delivery with others who want to provide physical sustenance during this time. If I don’t feel as though I have a large group supporting me, then it is important that I make sure I eat and track my food intake.

Sleep. Assign someone to taking phone messages, handling service details while napping. Although I may not actually sleep, resting counts and is necessary.

Massage, spa, body care. My answer to any grief always includes tending to the body. My Soul is great at holding me in Love. My body tends to fall apart more easily. Physical attention is important.

Errands. If there are errands to be run, I ask for help.

Service details. It is a fallacy that a memorial service needs to happen right away. I attended the memorial service of a dear friend whose family waited for eight months to honor her on her birthday. I am aware when officiating at services that memorials are like weddings put together in three to ten days instead of months.

I remind myself that love is all that really matters. Love of my Self to myself. Love of myself with another. And honor of the love of other toward me. During a time of grief reminding myself of this is important.