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Healing from Loss

Healing from Loss

care and feeding of the mind grief and loss Aug 31, 2018
By Jackie Ambrow, M.A., C.Ht.
 
A dear friend of mine lost his beloved after 37 years. As so often happens in the loss of a soulmate, his grief is still palpable and wells up, often at the most unexpected moments. This is what I wrote to him...
 
In the Beginning...
When our beloved physically leaves us in this life, our mind feels it has to hold onto the evidence of our beloved's existence. After all, much of our mind's identity is tied to who we are both with ...and because of... our beloved's presence in our lives.
 
Shared history is only one aspect of who we have become... because of our beloved. The physical pieces of evidence of our beloved may serve at first as painful reminders of our beloved's absence. Everywhere there are things, people, places to remind us of what we have lost....
 
When our grief is compounded by other hardships, we may feel the pain of absence and loss even more acutely...
 
The pain itself becomes a kind of evidence of our love. How else can the mind prove our beloved ever existed without the pain of our loss? So the mind, desperate to hold onto what remains of our beloved, uses the pain as the evidence of love. 
 
And when in a moment of being present to some kind of pleasure, joy or happiness... because Life always eventually returns us to Joy at some point... we find the mind reeling from the brief loss of its evidence ...pain... that our beloved and Love existed... we feel that we have somehow betrayed our beloved, somehow given up the evidence of their existence, failed to remember them in their absence and to the mind's way of (not)thinking, Erased Them from our own identity and existence!!! 
 
So we sink into self-condemnation, judgment and guilt and reinforce it all with memories of times we failed our beloved in life, through word or deed, or the absence of what we should have said or done... leading to more despair and feelings of unworthiness and not being Enough... and so goes the mind in its quest to hold onto Loving and Having Once Been Loved even/especially when we may feel we ought not to have deserved it... 
 
That is the Beginning Place of Grief. And that Grief in reality is simply Deep Love. The mind tries to protect us from Forgetfulness and the Erasure of our Loving and Having Once Been Loved... and the mind is doing the very best it knows how, to hold onto the evidence, to protect us and our identity as both... Lover and Beloved.
 
 
The Transition...
So as we adjust to a life without our beloved, with our pain as the evidence and bulwark against oblivion, we use all our resilience to find some balance between ...our own wish for oblivion and an end to the separation and pain... and Life's own yearning for us to survive, to go on, and maybe even to live up to the Love, Honor and Belief in us that our beloved bestowed on us in life... and it's a struggle!!!
 
Between the exhaustion of pain and the judgments against ourselves when we forget the pain, we may find it difficult to go on... even when we know we have to... if not for ourselves but for our others who were also left behind...
 
And then something gets sparked.. a moment of happiness that then reminds us, resonates with and allows us to light up a memory or two of the love, joy and happiness in the life we shared with our beloved... the guilt lessens, and is replaced with gratitude for the life, the love and the lessons shared... and sooner or later, the joy of what we once had becomes joy once again... 
 
This Transition may happen quickly for some and may take years for others... and it may sneak up on us unawares until we notice that the evidence of our beloved's existence has changed, has transformed... from pain to joy and gratitude...
This Transition requires a lot of patience with ourselves ... because we may feel our progress as not at all a straight line but as a Healing Wave. The line up is wavy, a step forward and two steps back, a few forward and one or two back, enough to test our belief that we will ever feel Whole again... 
 
And yet this Transition is also part of Life's yearning for Itself.. and cannot be hurried nor tarried for too long... it is like the seedling whose roots grow deep and unseen and whose stem and leaves will strain against even the hardest rock until it cracks and yields to the very Power of Life springing forth anew... 🌱
 
 
Re-Tuning to Wholeness...
At some point the joy-filled memories begin to outweigh the painful ones, and the mind begins to ease up on the judgments against self for living again... the new evidence is easier to hold onto and takes less energy to sustain. It helps that the double effort of both enduring pain and punishing ourselves for the smallest glimpse of happiness is needed less and less. We begin to see the Great Gift that we had ...has not left us... and simply grows more dear with time and the dawning of new understandings of ourselves and our time with our beloved.
The pain is still there but now tinged with the rose-gold hues and heady fragrances of enduring love and a thankfulness for everything that once was, is and shall be again. In Truth... Love is Eternal... Ever-Present... and as Close as our own Breath... the separation is part of our very human manifestation... and yet that very physicality and ephemerality were what made the experience of Love with our beloved so exquisite and tender... And we come to Know that Love really is All There Is... because Love is What and Who We Are........
Love Is... Infinite and Eternal...
like you... and all of us..... 

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