Archive for the ‘Grief Part 2’ Category

A while ago, I watched a psychic show on television.  Psychics have always fascinated me.  I do understand that many, if not most of them are unmitigated frauds, but I do keep an open mind and I figure that if I am going to be sceptical, then I should really be prepared to apply scepticism to my (our) own perceptions of reality too!

Anyway, this fellow, (lets call him Mr F.) with his lovely English accent, was conducting a question and answer session with his audience in Auckland’s town hall.  In the audience, was a rather sad looking young woman, who asked about contacting her father, who had died about twelve months previously.  After a little back and forth, Mr F said something along the lines of:

 “When people die, it is not really they who die, they go off to a better place.  All too often, it is us who die – because we stop living.  We are consumed by grief, dwell on thoughts of the person who has departed and stop doing the things that we previously found enjoyable in life.”

Mr F suggested that the departed person would find this very hurtful and distressing, and his advice to this young woman was that she do the things that her father would have enjoyed seeing her do, that she talk with him about her hopes, dreams and achievements and that she live her life joyfully in the way that her father would have wanted her to. 

Now whatever you may think of psychics, (and I’ve been to one of this chap’s shows and think he really is pulling our legs – mostly anyway,) when I heard this I thought – what wonderfully compassionate advice!  How often would psychologists and counsellors think to put it like this?  And I have related this story to a number of people I have met, who have been suffering under a burden of grief.

I usually add to this, when I am dealing with someone who has unresolved grief, by saying something like:  “If your (mother/father/whoever has departed) were here in the room with us and could speak to you, what would they be saying to you?  Would they say – “Well, what I want you to do is paralyse your life with grief for my sake, spend all your time feeling miserable, sink into depression, do harmful things to yourself and stop having a life.”  How likely would that be?  Isn’t it much more likely that they would say – “I want you to honour my memory.  I want you to keep me alive in your heart and in your mind.  But I want you to move on, live your life with joy and happiness, achieve your potential, knowing that I am always with you.  Damaging your life with grief is not honouring my memory.””

To honour someone who has passed on, we must honour ourselves.  Honouring ourselves is not selfish – our loved ones are a part of us, as we are a part of them.  Caring for ourselves is a statement of respect for ourselves and others, which endures through time and from generation to generation. 

If we are able to view our grief and sadness in this way, we are able to move on in our lives, we find that those who have departed come to occupy happy places in our memories and become resources in our day to day living. 


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