10 Healthy Ways to Accept the Death of a Loved One
Death is an immensely challenging and often confusing part of being alive. It can broadside us, claiming dear friends and loved ones seemingly before their time. Truthfully, there is no right way to handle death, as the loss of someone you care about can be one of the most emotionally charged experiences we ever have, comparable to that of only one other occasion, the birth of a child.
I believe when someone close to us dies, we do have an array of emotions and experiences we all do share, and this article is dedicated to the cultivation of healthy responses towards death, as it will continually be a part of all of our lives. I write this not to be grim, but to be realistic. Death will claim those we love, and we must come to embrace this process and meet it with presence, rather than any form of denial so it won’t affect us or to shy away from the intensity of the the experience of the loss.
Death is truly a beautiful process, as one cycles through this life into the heavens, they may find new life through the process of incarnation (that is if you believe in reincarnation), which I do. While many deaths are avoidable and unnecessary, the process of death itself isn’t, and it’s that process this article is about.
I believe we as a culture are somewhat inept when it comes to death, as it’s something many of us fear, and our modern society has had trouble embracing the concept and its reality. Generally, we view it as a major tragedy and loss for ourselves and the world, when in actuality, their life was and is a gift to this world. Their death symbolizes and is a celebration of the gifts and lessons they brought to us. In ancient cultures, death was an ecstatic, celebratory part of life, considered to be a great gift and initiation. Perhaps we can integrate this wisdom into our own lives today.
Here’s 10 Healthy Ways to Accept the Death of a Loved One:
1) Don’t Try to Understand It
In the event of death, I experience and witness many try to understand. Was the person ready to die? Did they know? Was it supposed to happen?
When someone dies, I don’t believe it’s our job to understand it, as understanding may be the last emotion you experience. Rather, I invite us to embrace it as a divine act always, no matter what the circumstances, and to then learn from their passing in the most unified way possible. When one dies, their soul carries on, knowing they can continue to bring gifts and show up in our lives is so much more powerful than trying to understand the illogical.
2) Turn Regret into Inspiration
Often, we wonder how we could have done more when someone was alive… Said the thing we needed or wanted to say, apologized whenever necessary, and reached out and done more to express our love and appreciation to cherish the bond of our dear friend or loved one.
I believe death is intended to give us a greater appreciation of life and its preciousness. Think about how you can take all of those regretful actions and turn them into inspiration towards the people who are alive and present in your life today. What can you say to those you care about to let them know how much you cherish them in your life?
3) Embrace Your Anger as Passion
If you experience anger towards death, it’s truly passion in disguise. You are passionate about what the person meant to you and to others. Maybe you are angry at them for their actions or maybe lack there of while they were alive. Maybe you are angry at yourself for not doing more and some people even experience anger at someone for dying and leaving them alone.
Consider how much you passionately care for the person who passed and look deep into your anger to understand it better and listen to what it is telling you. If you can, channel this anger into proactive action.
4) Really Let Yourself Cry & Feel Emotional
You have permission to cry and let it all out.
If it’s within reach, find someone who you feel safe with and who can support you. Let yourself feel safe enough to emote and cry. Crying is not generally glamorous, but is always beautiful. Surrounding yourself with people who will embrace your tears, rather than trying to stop them is very important.
You may need to shake and experience the whole range of emotions associated with your loss. Don’t swallow or repress these emotions, they are the healing pressure and essential to the personal growth of your life.
5) It’s Okay to Laugh & Smile
Smile and laughter is sometimes a natural reaction to death. You can’t help but think of the highlights of someone’s life when you look back at them, and that’s a very good thing.
If you feel happy, content, or desire to laugh or smile through your experience, it’s okay too. Everyone handles emotions differently, and sometimes sadness is richer with just a drop of joy.
6) Come Together with Friends & Family
Although this is an older practice, coming together with close friends and family when someone dies, need not be a grim and purely somber experience. When you die, do you want to purely be grieved in remembrance with devastation and loss or celebrated for being the magnificent being you are? Treat others the same way you would like to be treated.
Consider doing various Spiritual rituals in their name, burning love notes to your passed loved one, burying love notes with them, or dancing their spirit through the veils.
7) Connect with Them Beyond this Life
Everyone is a medium to the dearly departed. Simply, go into meditation and call upon their soul’s presence and feel them. Embrace their Spirit and let them communicate with you. You may be surprised at how palpable their presence feels with you.
Many people’s spirits seem to become more easily accessible once they pass. You can even ask them questions, to gain greater clarity to the timing of their departure from this life.
8) Let the One Who has Passed become Your Spirit Guide
In the same vein, the presence of one who has passed doesn’t need to end in this life. Call upon them in the same way you would a spirit guide. Invoke their Spirit to support you in your life and feel them when you need support.
So many times, I’ve heard people say their deceased parents, grandparents or friends and family feel like they are watching over them. Give yourself permission to share in this experience. If someone brought great gifts to you during their life, it’s very likely they can do so to an equal or even greater extent in the afterlife.
Consider putting your beloved departed’s picture on your shrine to remind you that they are looking over you & are still a part of you!
9) Embrace that Death Isn’t the End, It’s a Cycle
From Tibetan, Hindu and even deep Gnostic teachings, we see that the further back you look into various ancient Global cultures, that reincarnation is commonplace and knowledge. Interestingly enough, during Jesus’s life reincarnation was the primary accepted notion of the process of death.
When we don’t view death as the end, we can embrace it as a new beginning. The soul is now free to travel the cosmos, take on a new body and is no longer bound by the limitations of the physical. How exciting!
Life and death are two sides of the same coin, as rebirth and regeneration is forever present in nature, and energy is never created or destroyed, just re-appropriated.
10) Celebrate their Life
Most of all celebrate the life of the one you loved. The lessons they taught, love they shared, bonds they created and care they administered for others.
Let the pain and anguish transmute into deeper forms of gratitude and appreciation than you have ever experienced. Let your heart be broken, as it will transform into new heights and expanses of love for yourself, others & the World. We are all one, and extensions of each other, and the passing of one of us is the signification that energy always changes and there is beauty in impermanence.