Healing from Grief and Loss

“If you do not bring forward what is within you, what is within you will destroy you. But if you bring forward what is within you, what is within you will heal and save you.” The Gospel of Thomas

We want the security of knowing that life will hold the pattern we create, the niche we carve out for ourselves in whatever space we can claim as our own. When we lose what we love, our pattern is changed forever, and we descend into grief. This time of grieving invites us to be still, to sit quietly and allow the process to unfold. We might think that some kind of action needs to take place, some moving on from the sadness; in fact, it is in giving time to your grief that it becomes a transformative experience.

When a close friend died of cancer, many people in my circle of friends were devastated by the loss. I remember waking up the morning after he died knowing that my world had changed forever, and I right along with it. I found myself looking at each moment as if he would appear again in my field of vision. I felt so weighed down with sorrow that there was nothing to do but sit in emptiness. Even knowing his illness was terminal, those of us around him refused to acknowledge that he was dying. Later, when we looked at pictures, taken days before his passing, we were shocked at what was so evident. The man was dying, and we couldn’t let him go.

When we lose someone or something we love, we are faced with the space that person held and we fill it with grief and longing. Grieving is the emotional healing our mind needs to recover from loss. If we are unable to grieve our losses, we have difficulty moving on. We forfeit some of our emotional flexibility. Our psyches develop hard spots, which may manifest themselves in habitual anger, irritability, anxiety, depression, or addiction.

Taking my grief to the meditation cushion, I sat and watched my breath, cried, sobbed, blew my nose, and watched my breath some more. There were mornings I couldn’t sit still and was overcome by sadness again, and so I would do my yoga, moving slowly from one posture to another. Gradually, what I called the “grief balloon” began to deflate, and this incredible feeling of love was there to fill the space. My attachment to my friend’s death had dissolved, and I was filled with the purity of unconditional love that had formed the basis of our relationship.

Meditation teacher Joseph Goldstein, and author of The Experience of Insight, writes that love that comes from wisdom is an “unconditional, universal loving kindness—a feeling of friendliness and warmth for all beings everywhere.” All that you can do to shed your grief and replace it with love is to be patient, do the practice, and meditate. That’s all that’s required.

Related:
Prolonged Grief? 9 Symptoms
5 Ways to Heal Grief
Grief, A Necessary Suffering

51 comments

Michele Wilkinson

Thank you

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Carole R.
Carole R7 years ago

Good information. Grief is a process that everyone seems to go through a little differently. It is never easy.

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Denise Janssen Eager

Jeannie N., Thanks for the website address. I will definitely explore it.
My beloved, 76 year old Mother died of metastasized lung cancer this past May. Shadows on her lungs were discovered during a pre-op Xray for atrial valve replacement surgery 2 months earlier. She went forward with the surgery & after many complications, was finally formally diagnosed 13 days before she died, which was at home surrounded by her 3 daughters & hospice.
Since then I have been comforted by one phrase that become my mantra: I am my Mother's daughter. Though she is no longer with me in this physical world, she resides within my soul. As I continue to live my life, I become attuned to all the lessons I have learned from her during her time in my world. I feel blessed to have known such an amazing woman.

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Janine Hofmann
Janine H8 years ago

Thank you very much for this interesting article and the warmth of the words.
Some close persons had gone, too. And it let me fall into a deep darkness, deeper than it already was. Still i miss these people, and thinking about them hurts. Sometimes i think grief could also be possible because of living people, because they went away, let someone alone (very painful when it was so necessary to have them around, but they were not there), did not understand... as if being alone in this dark, cold, lonely "world"

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jane richmond
jane richmond8 years ago

thanks

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Sandra C.
Sandra C.8 years ago

Part of me has died ...
http://www.thepetitionsite.com/769/petition-to-deny-parole/
My only son, hearing-impaired, was brutally murdered. Heart-breaking, I relive it when his murderer comes up for parole. I deal with something that seems nonstop.
Please sign and share the petition ASAP. Deadline June 23rd, 2011!


Yellow Roses
(dedicated to my son, Gregory Douglas Turner, 1969-1992)
copyright2000Sandrascorona

Here are roses big yellow roses
Pretty and thorn less
Like you gave me years ago
Together we planted those yellow roses
On my birthday
Son, how you glowed
I remember you said:
"Momma, here's roses
Pretty and thorn less."
But your hands, Son, were in shreds
You watered the petals
Of those big roses
With tears shed removing thorns
Son, here are roses big yellow roses
Pretty and thorn less
Like you gave me years ago
I bring you roses
On my birthday
See, they've grown
Remember those roses big yellow roses
Pretty and thorn less
Like you gave me years ago
Together we planted those yellow roses
On my birthday
Son, how you glowed
I remember you said:
"Momma, here's roses
Pretty and thorn less."
But your hands, Son, were in shreds
Together we've watered
Those yellow roses
With tears we've both shed
Remember those roses big yellow roses
Pretty and thorn less
That you gave me
years ago . . .

I don't know how to answer mail here so thank you in advance! Mr. Keihl shows no remorse. How can I move on?

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Lorraine S.
Kathleen H8 years ago

Moving on can be easier said than done however, especially if other feelings about the loved one are tangled in with the grief.

My grandma died 10 years ago and even now I'm sat here going all teary just thinking about it. When she was in hospital no one told me how serious it was, or that she might die. her death was such a shock I just felt like I'd frozen, just turned off because I couldn't take it in. At the time I wasn't able to visit her, and even now, I still keep hearing the voice of guilt in my head. It tells me I should've written more, should've gone to see her more...

While my rational mind knows I'm proabably being too hard on myself, the rest keeps saying I should've tried harder, should've borrowed money to go and see her, that she loved getting letters. Grief is hard; grief with guilt thrown in is a lot worse.

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Eternal Gardener
Eternal Gardener8 years ago

Thanks!

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carlee trent
carlee trent8 years ago

noted thx.

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Eva Adgrim
Eva adgrim8 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

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