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Dealing with Grief

Posted by Roberta Grimes • August 12, 2017 • 30 Comments
Afterlife Research, Death, Human Nature

I hear from grieving people almost daily now. Their pain is often so raw that it is nearly unbearable to read their messages, and I realize that since I cannot feel grief myself I am handicapped in my attempts to help them. But I try!

Grief is a process. It is composed of a number of elements: the loss of old habits, fear for the loved one, loneliness, nostalgia, anger, guilt, self-pity, and more. All are very low-vibration emotions, so each of them is painful; and in combination, they can be unbearable! It is in the nature of grief that it will lessen over time – it should be a lot less painful beyond the first year – but you can help it along by trying to understand what the particular mix of negative emotions is in your own case. I suggest to most people the following steps:

1) Pamper yourself. Especially when the grief is fresh, listen hard for your own feelings and wishes and try to do exactly what you want to do from minute to minute of every day. Your mind knows what it needs to do to heal! Don’t be around people who make you feel worse: it is important that you be ruthless about that. Treat yourself as the emotional invalid that you are. Certainly don’t spend time with anyone who tells you that you have got to get over it!

2) Learn all that you can about where your loved one is now. Depending on how you process information, there are lots of books that you might read; and I urge you strongly to subscribe to the Zammits’ weekly newsletter (go to victorzammit.com). My The Fun of Dying is a quick summary, and it includes an annotated bibliography that can help you find lots of additional books. But the news is all good! And the more you learn, the more you should begin to feel more comfortable about your loved one’s present situation.

3) Learn about the signs that our loved ones give to us. It is generally true that your grief has to lessen before your newly-dead loved one can get through to you with signs, which is another reason why it is important that you work on managing your grief.

4) Let go of all negativity, especially anger and guilt. The most intractable form of grief is guilt-based, anger-based, or a combination of the two; so if as you examine your feelings you find that you feel guilty or angry about anything, then it will be important that you work on forgiving yourself and forgiving all your anger. The guilt and anger generally won’t lessen otherwise, and people typically feel that they are still actively grieving even many years later when what they really mostly are feeling at that point is guilt or rage.

5) Learn to accept and live with your grief. It seems to be true for many people that grief never completely goes away; but if you manage it well, it can be tempered to a kind of wistfulness that ideally will be enlivened by occasional signs and messages. Your loved ones are young again, beautiful and healthy, and are having fun in a place without time! They can be close to you whenever they like, so there isn’t the sense of separation for them that there is for you. And the love is stronger than ever!

Believe it or not, it is possible to lose someone close to you and hardly grieve at all. When you are certain about what is going on, you find that you are clueless about other people’s grief: my impulse is always to say how happy I am for the person who at last has gone home, but grieving people don’t want to hear that so instead I express my sympathy for the living. When each of my parents died, despite the fact that I was close to them I felt only glad for them that at last they were free of their useless old bodies. Human life is eternal! When you are certain of that – really certain of it – then seeing people grieve at a death will no longer make sense to you, either.

 

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photo credit: 2bmolar <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/12463666@N03/35354665303″>Dried Tears</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>

Roberta Grimes

Roberta Grimes is an internationally recognized expert on death and the afterlife. Learn More

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30 thoughts on “Dealing with Grief

  1. Dear Roberta, Thank you for another thought-provoking blog post. The more I read and meditate on what I read, the more I talk with people and listen to interviews, the more of a challenge it is for me to express myself when people lose a loved one, even a pet. I want to say, “He is bigger and more powerful and more there for you than ever now…She is always with you, and you can talk with her whenever you want…. Look and listen and you’ll never feel abandoned…” But it seems that grief is some sort of built-in reaction to loss — either cultural or perhaps deeper than that. There is probably lots of guilt involved but there is also a sense, I think, that the planet was fundamentally different — for good or ill — when we shared it with the person who has now left. That takes a lot of getting used to. Maybe there is some envy involved, too? As an old colleague of mine used to say as a euphemism, “His problems are over now!” To a certain extent, that’s true, although for us, the challenge goes on!

    1. I share your frustrations about dealing with grief, Mike. When you know the truth, it becomes harder and harder to understand how to help people with a grief that you no longer ever feel yourself! I have tried education, and it doesn’t help those who are in the first stages of grief: they simply don’t want to know. So all that we can do is to hug them and tell them how sorry we are that they are in such pain.

      For Christians, A LOT of their pain often is based in fear that their loved one wasn’t good enough for heaven and might now be in hell, and at least that fear should be addressed at once: I tell them that I have spent fifty years looking for anything like the Christian hell, and I am confident that it doesn’t exist. God loves their departed friend or relative even more than they do, so that person is safe now in everlasting arms. That seems to help. Then later, sometimes these people will ask me what more I know and can share with them.

      But I have learned just to offer, and never to try to lead or enlighten! It’s astonishing how deeply those Christian dogmas have so many people stuck in a terror of stepping even one toe into learning anything that is one inch outside the church. Even when you quote Jesus in the Gospels to them, they are scared! What a sad state of affairs, when in fact the news is all wonderful and it is exactly what Jesus told us long ago!

  2. I am one of those who absolutely do realize what these people are going through, having been down the grief path for over six years now, and I can honestly say that when I went to a reputable medium, the grief lessened a lot! I was given messages that no one else would know or even be able to guess at. The sessions can be done in person or by phone. There is no difference in the outcome. Just ask the person in spirit to be there at the time of your appointment, as they are able to hear you Make sure the medium is reputable and has positive reviews from their other clients. However, it is best to wait until the person has been dead for at least 3 months before consulting a medium.

    1. What perfect advice this is, Lola – thank you!!

      One problem that the grieving face, though, is that not all mediums are as terrific as yours was. I hear from some who have had such poor experiences with mediums that they now are worried about whether the fact that the medium they consulted couldn’t come up with anything really evidentiary might mean that their loved one didn’t survive or is in trouble :-(.

      My own favorite medium – Susanne Wilson – no longer does public readings, and mediums who are really good can have waiting lists that extend for months or years. Are you willing to share who your good medium was?

  3. Suzanne is definitely one of the best, that’s for sure, but her waiting list is long (not surprised). Thomas John is also fantastic but, again, he is too expensive for me and his waiting list is even longer than Suzanne’s. The medium I referred to is from Kingston NY and his name is Adam Bernstein. I could go on for hours about the the things he said to me that many would consider “creepy” due to their accuracy. It is important to research these people, just as you should research doctors, lawyers and plumbers before you hire them. There are hoaxers in every field.

  4. Roberta!

    I love your posts. Thank you for you.

    I am one of the grieving who reached out to you soon after my beautiful husband, Paul, made his transition. And, much to my astonishment, you responded with kind words and the reassurance I craved that the afterlife is a reality and that Paul and I will indeed be together again.

    Even though I had been listening for many years to Abraham-Hick’s message that “there is no death,” and even though I had “lost” other loved ones with practically no grief, nothing prepared me for the wall of grief that slammed me when my Sweetheart, diagnosed with cancer, passed over.

    It helped me to learn that Esther Hicks, who channels the non-physical teachers know as Abraham, grieved for a year when her own husband and soul mate, Jerry made his transition. Esther said that, even with years of channeling Abraham assuring that there is no death, when Jerry “left” she was initially bereft.

    It’s only by immersing myself in afterlife studies—books (like your marvelous contributions, Roberta), recordings, videos, Spirit circle classes, medium readings, etc.—that allowed me to move forward with a semblance of hope and happy anticipation in place.

    Now, except for a freak-out moment here and there, I am sure I will be with my Paul and my other loved ones when I pass. (But especially and most importantly, with Paul. 😉 )

    After that, who knows?

    No matter what happens after I join him, I’ve decided Paul and I will once again be making happy and harmonious decisions from love, just as we did before he passed.

    I no longer spend time and energy trying to convince others that Paul is alive and well. It is most glorious when others in my life “get it,” but it is no longer necessary for my own belief to remain solid.

    I’ve decided that if, in the end, all of this afterlife stuff is a lie and that when I close my eyes for the last time it all fades to black, I still prefer living my remaining earthly days with strong awareness that my Paul is still with me (pure love) and the Spirit World is all around us.

    It’s all about love. That’s all it is. xo

    1. Roberta “thank you ” so much for this article. It helps me to read these for the grief that I am going thru. The loss of my Father and my dear pet Rebel. It truly has been hard. These articles give me reassurance that someday we will be together again. I am reading your book, The Fun Of Dying. Absolutely a must read! Thanks again for all you do for us….

      Sincerely, Brenda

      1. Thank you, Brenda! It thrills me to know that I’ve been of help to you – as I’m sure you can imagine, that is what I live for!! And of course your father and your pet are just fine, and you will be together again – if anything is certain, that is certain. Please consider yourself hugged ;-)!

    2. This is so beautiful, Mary Beth! What a testimony!! Yes, even if it weren’t true after all that human life is eternal, it still would be better to live our own lives in the certainty that indeed it is real! Ah, but what is beyond-wonderful is finally transitioning, and knowing then beyond believing that every human life is eternal and we are indeed infinitely, perfectly loved ;-)!

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with all of your wonderful article, and I too actually felt happy for my parents when they died five years ago. Ironically, as time has gone by, Ifeel like I “grieve” more now because I miss them not being here.

    But, I have noticed that there seem to be more NDE stories out their, especially on Youtube, made by Traditional Christians talking about hell and how we all better believe correctly or we will end up there. Is there any refuting evidence you can comment on about that?

    Thank you 🙂

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Renee!

      To answer your question, fortunately we know that the following two things are true:

      1) Near-death experiences have nothing whatsoever to do with death. They are trauma- or stress-induced out-of-body experiences, and no one having an NDE goes anywhere near where the dead actually go. In fact, many longer and more detailed NDEs include a warning that the experiencer is approaching a boundary and unless he or she turns back, bodily death will occur. We know for certain that death is ALWAYS a one-way trip!

      2) We also know, after at least a century of looking hard for any evidence to support Christian beliefs, that there is no fiery hell, no eternal damnation, no judgment by God or by any other religious figure (Jesus actually tells us this in the Gospels), and no evidence whatsoever that the death of Jesus on the cross has ever made an afterlife difference for a single human being. The worst that exists is what Jesus calls “the outer darkness, where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth,” but it is we who condemn ourselves to spend a little time at that lowest level.

      So we know now for certain that Christian dogmas are altogether wrong. But of course Jesus is entirely right! It’s too bad that Christians don’t follow Jesus….

    1. Yes, although until recently they weren’t interested in doing much in the way of afterlife education. I believe that is changing now. For parents who have lost children briefly, there is also Helping Parents Heal – a great organization!

  6. This makes so much sense. I do need to tell you I don’t want to live much longer on this earth, since I have lost the love of my life. Do other people feel that way? I just miss him so much and really don’t find any joy being here on earth without him.

    1. Yes, Liz, there are others who feel as you do. Please try to understand, though, that we plan our exit points as part of our overall life-plans and it is generally true that when one partner goes ahead it is because he or she didn’t have more to accomplish so they are getting out of the way in order for the survivor to better accomplish things on his or her own. If you are still here, there is a reason! And it will be a gift to your beloved if you will find your mission and will accomplish it with him rooting for you from the bleacher seats. I know this is difficult to hear at first, but I would be remiss if I didn’t give him the gift of saying this to you. Open your heart, dear, and that mission will find you. Meanwhile, I’m sending you a hug!

  7. I have lost many, a mother (when she died, I was heartbroken and devastated, even 21 yrs later), aunts, uncles, grandparents, my bff of over 30 yrs. The one loss that truly broke me was the death of my first daughter at birth. It has been over 23 yrs and when that anniversary comes along, the pain is still raw again. I only pray I never have to go through that kind of pain again. I had one child afterwards, and I hovered over her. Even when she reached adulthood, it was very hard to let her go out into the world on her own. I will have to say that the loss of a child is beyond any kind of pain anyone can experience. I don’t follow any religion, however I do know that these loved ones have moved on to the other side, but with some of the losses at the time, it was still not a comfort to me.

    1. Dear Susan, I’m sorry that your life has been so hard! Please know, of course, that your child who transitioned at her birth is a beautiful young woman now and will be waiting when eventually you also transition to love you and make up for all the lost time – and people who grow up there are the sweetest and sunniest people of all!

  8. all I want to say right now, Roberta is one of the nicest, kindness, and caring people I have ever emailed. love her website. she always helps people to feel better.

  9. “Liz’ posted above that she feels she doesn’t want to go on much longer here and wanted to know if anyone else feels that way also. I too feel that way, but don’t feel there is anything wrong with it any more than it is wrong for someone to want to move out of one city and into another. Life (and death) are all about change. I do believe there are “exit points” for most of us, though, as Roberta pointed out but in the meantime, devoting some of your time to being of service to others is extremely helpful. I did it by becoming a hospice volunteer, but there are many other alternatives. You see things from an entirely different perspective. I was amazed at how it helps lessen anxiety and depression.

    1. Oh Lola, again you have written something really beautiful! It’s good of you to be helping others who come here – you’re doing that better than I can. Thank you!!

  10. Thanks, Roberta. It’s actually a pleasure for me to do this and so much more important than the trivia some get mixed up in

  11. Excellent post. In this life I struggled with grief until two different breakthroughs happened (one in counseling, and the other in reading THE FUN OF STAYING IN TOUCH, or TFOSIT). Right now I am reading a book by Suzanne J. Wilson, SOUL SMART and it emphasizes and carries forward all I learned in TFOSIT.

    If books ever die, then I will grieve, but humans…it’s OK for them to move on into something new as long as I can “stay in touch” with them!!!

    1. Thank you for your kind thoughts, Mary! And thank you for pointing out that it helps most people a very great deal in lessening their grief to learn about how our dead loved ones communicate with us because once you better know the language it becomes either to spot their little hugs from heaven. Susanne’s book is great – I’m recommending it all the time!

  12. Oh, Roberta. I have so much love and respect for you. Thanks for this post. But, I have to take a small exception to your last point.

    There is an unavoidable amount of grief we will go through depending on the relationships and the circumstances of the person we have lost. I have not lost either of my parents or anyone very close to me who wasn’t elderly. When my father-in-law (who was like a father to me), I felt relief. Alzheimer’s took his mind long before it took his body. He was free to be his full self once again. When my grandmother died (who was like a mother to me) died, I knew it was her time.

    But, when my 15 year old daughter died in her sleep, there was (and is) no escaping a certain part of grief. The knowledge that she is fine, she is still with us, and I will see her again does knock off a big portion of the grief that would otherwise be unbearable. But, to say that I could get by with hardly grieving at all is simply not accurate. Even with the knowledge I have, aided greatly by your program, I grieve and I will continue to grieve, probably for the rest of my life.

    Being involved in a group for parents who have had children transition, lets me know I am not alone. Even those of us who seem to have it to together, who know these eternal truths, deal with the human emotion of grief that is inevitable in these situations.

    Peace,
    Brian

    1. You are right, of course, dear Brian! Grief for a child is the worst grief there is – many heartbroken parents have taught me that lesson. You handle it especially well, and your work with Helping Parents Heal (a little plug for a wonderful organization) is a great gift from you to so many other grieving parents!

      Grief for children seems to me to be bound up in part in grief for all those lost years ahead that now never will happen, and grief for the things that child might have done with her life. You’re right: that never will go away! Grief for a child who has left us out of turn really does go on forever. But what you are doing in reaching out and helping others is a gift to your beautiful daughter, too; I know she loves what you are doing. Many children of parent leaders in Helping Parents Heal even contribute to their parents’ work by themselves working with newly-arrived children.

      I once had a grieving parent tell me that she wished she hadn’t loved her son so much because now her life might still be worth living, but more and more I think it is this intense ongoing love between bereaved parents and their children – and the love that we all continue to have for those who have gone on ahead of us – that makes life feel even worth living in the first place! That love is forever. In the end, it is what matters.

      I’m sending you and your family on both sides of the veil a big hug, dear beautiful friend!

  13. Hi Roberta, and thanks for your lovely words; lovely as always. It’s a complicated thing, this grief. I know that it can hold a spirit loved one back, but when you have had many many HAPPY years with the person you love most in this world, how can you not grieve? (Rhetorical question.) My beautiful and absolutely lovely wife, Liz, passed to spirit three years ago tomorrow (Aug 18). I absolutely long to be with her again, and I know that I will be. But – I also know that I have to complete the plan for my earth life before that can happen; have to wait for the right exit point. So, I have learned to manage my grief, in that I meet people, interact with people, travel to exciting places, and generally get on with life. I, too, volunteer in my local hospice. I’m getting on with life for sure, at a practical levelThere is, however, that deep longing – longing for the time when I, too, graduate and can be with my beloved soul-mate AND with the four other loved ones in my family who have crossed over. Grief doesn’t just go away, and indeed to suppress it can lead to physiological trauma in later life – or so I’m informed. So, let the tears come when they need to.I It’s cathartic, and usually a half hour afterwards you (that is, I) feel so much better.

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