November 20, 2017

Thriving Through the Loss of a Loved One

All of us travel the same incarnated life path.  We are born one day, and ultimately we will leave our body and return to the spirit world.  In between, we have many life experiences including the loss of loved ones.  None of us can ward this off, as it is an inevitable part of living. All we can do is to hold space for one another, as each of us goes through the tunnel of heartbreak, as we lose physical access to someone we love.

As a Holistic Therapist, I have cared for many clients through their grief process.  Last week I lost the first person in the best friend inner circle portal of my own heart.  His name is Richard, a soul brother of almost 38 years.  He was a living legend, leaving an indelible heart print on all who were fortunate to know and touched by him.

I was told that it was his wish for me to give one of the eulogies.  Fortunately, I had a five hour flight to tune into my heart to download whatever would most honor this extraordinary man and serve the full sanctuary of individuals mourning the loss of him and celebrating his life.

I shared unforgettable stories, going back to our college days, highlighting hilarious moments of laughter, his off the chart thoughtfulness, and how special he had been to us all.

But even when we have some sense of preparation, it doesn’t make the thought of life without the one we love any easier.  Tears fell from all of us, that at times felt torrential. Because I knew everyone was feeling overwhelmed and devastated, I also felt compelled to soothe our hurting hearts with some clarity and comfort.

Here are a few to share:

1)  Life Goes On:  As each year passed of Richard’s living large, despite the terminal nature of his illness…his famous quote was always “Thankfully Life Goes On.”   I shared the comfort in the belief…that It’s not over when it’s over:   For I believe that we are spiritual beings having a physical experience, and that love is infinite and never dies.  From this perspective, our loved ones’ lives do go on…as a permanent imprint within the hearts of everyone who loved them. The memories we shared with that person are a forever blessing, and if you really pay attention you will feel his/her presence with you always.

2)  Embodiment:  I was talking with a man not long ago who had lost someone very close to him.  I asked how he is dealing with his heartbreak.  He said…“I decided to just focus on embodying her spirit.”   I thought that was so beautiful.   So I invite us all to consider what it would it be like to embody the spirit of the one we will miss, so that he/she lives within us always.

Given who my friend was, here are a few embodiment examples, inspired by his example.

(EO will stand for: Embodiment Opportunity).  Perhaps you may recognize some of these qualities in and takeaways from someone you have loved.

* Richard’s passion for living was palpable and contagious, and he gave his all to the people he loved and causes he cared about.

EO:  BE that Passionate & Proactive about who WE love, and what WE care about.

* Richard’s generosity of spirit was ever flowing.

EO: Amplify the true mensch that lies within all of us …taking the time to write more cards to those we love, make more generous donations to worthy causes, go the extra mile for a friend, delight in random acts of kindness etc, etc.

* Richard came out as a gay man in his early 40’s.

EO:  Embracing the power within to live a life of courage, to speak our truth and become who we really are. 

* Richard got married in the Summer of 2016, after meeting his husband in his fifties, all the while consistently going through cancer treatments.

EO:  never stop believing in true love, not matter what age or circumstance.

* Richard survived and yes…thrived for 13 years of living with lung cancer.

EO: We are all capable of overcoming challenges that are inevitable… pushing the limits of what is possible with determination, humility, grace, and grit.

* Richard infused just about everything with laughter and levity, including utilizing quite often the “cancer card” as he would refer to it.

EO:  Put the trivial in perspective and pump up the volume on having more humor and amusement about ALL of life’s curious twists and turns.

* Richard was a collector of wonderful friends and loved to connect us with one another.  He believed that “Like attracts Like” and we were all the better for it.

EO:   Share more of ourselves and receive the gift of friendships.

* Richard lived in the present moment, sharing it with us, savoring it, and living in the NOW, which is the only thing that is truly real.

EO:  Not to wait until we have limited time left to stay present to the present moment.   It is within this conscious focus that all is cherished and revealed.

So I encourage you, dearest readers, to think about and receive what you would like to embody more of from someone who you have loved and who has transitioned.  Here are some descriptor examples to tune into to see if it resonates.  If so, remember how he/she exuded that quality and how it made you feel.  Then consider how you can invite and express more of that in your own life.

GENEROSITY…HUMILITY…LEADERSHIP…INTIMATE RELATIONSHIPS…THOUGHTFULNESS…AFFECTION…HUMOR…COURAGE…HEALTHY LIVING…DISCIPLINE…ASSERTIVENESS…UNAPOLOGETIC LIVING…SPIRITUAL…PATIENT…FUN & JOYFUL…ADVENTUROUS …FEARLESS…INTUITIVE…CONFIDENT, and the list continues…

3)  Grief into Gratitude:   Especially in the acute phase of loss, we often focus on what we did “not get” in the form of my more time with our beloved friend or family member.   Everyday is an opportunity for alchemy…”turning a negative into a positive” (as my friend Richard also used to say).  Even in our darkest hours of grief, our tears can lead to triumph…remembering and appreciating every morsel of true love we got lucky enough to experience.  And if love is all there really is, whether it’s a moment or a lifetime the love we share with one another is never lost.

Comments

  1. Thank you Dr. Marcy, this is a beautiful message to those who are grieving the loss of a loved one. It is also a a bold reminder to live life to the fullest in the now for that is all we truly ever have.

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