Finding Yourself After Losing a Loved One
Dr. Anuradha Iyer shares the profound alchemy of turning personal grief into a life-transforming light
Someone you love just passed away……
Rajani lost her husband to Covid and couldn’t come to terms with her great loss. She kept crying inconsolably and couldn’t find any solace anywhere.
Have you lost your loved one suddenly, without getting an opportunity to say goodbye, and feel as if your world has come to an end? There are so many condolence messages but no one really knows how empty you feel inside as if a part of you is gone forever. It feels like a nightmare and you cannot find a way to wake up from it and come back to your old days. Tears just well up in your eyes when you think that you will never, ever meet that person in your life again, and the tears keep flowing, not finding a way to stop. You did not even say what you wanted to, you did not express your love to the person you love, and he or she just went away forever. Every day is worse than the previous one and life is just dragging by, with no reason to smile. How does one cope with the loss of a loved one? Why is it so difficult? Who will understand your pain and give you a helping hand out of it?
You are not alone in this nightmare. There are many people who are going through this at this time, but that does not give you any solace.
The first question which comes to you at this time, is “Why me?” Anyone could have lost a loved one, but why did it have to be me? I had so many important milestones to cross with this person and now I am left stranded at this crossroad of life. How will I live the rest of my life
without this person?
You need something strong to hold onto. You need a guidance system that will go to the root of your grief and help you understand all of life’s complicated puzzles. Soothing words are good, but they don’t last. And what do you do with all the days and nights at your disposal? How do you come back to a semblance of normalcy? Or will it never happen?
Dealing with your sorrow
First of all, you have to get a hold of yourself. Understand that it is a major life situation that you were not prepared for. So give yourself some time and patience. Let the grief come, let the tears flow. If memories of your loved one keep coming to you, let them flood you. If you can still hear his or her voice calling your name and talking to you, listen to that voice. Do not try to drown out those memories. The most natural thing to come to you is memories of how that person looked, sounded, felt in a hug, his or her expressions and thoughts.
Grief is a very important part of this whole event and without undergoing this devastating emotion, you will not be able to get any sense of control over your emotions. So first allow yourself to grieve.
Let the grief take as much time as it does because it is actually helping you more than you know. Grief is natural, so don’t fight with or resist it. That person was very important to you and life without him or her is going to be difficult, to say the least. A vital part of you is involved with that person, so let the thoughts and memories come to you as they come. Don’t try to change anything. And never be in a hurry to get over it all. This phase is actually very precious as it is your connection with life itself. This is your most intimate connection, let it be that and nothing else. It deserves all your attention and time.
Understanding the phenomenon of Death
After you go through the initial phase of extreme grief, missing the lost one’s physical presence and love, you will start thinking about this important phenomenon called Death. The only thing that is certain for every living being, is Death. We all know this. And we have seen many people cope with the loss of a loved one. And yet this sudden happening of Death of our own loved one is shattering and unbelievable. How could this have happened to me????
Many times you keep asking yourself this difficult question. If only you look around yourself, you will find that every person in this world will have to go through this, sometimes or the other. Losing any precious relationship like spouse, parent, sibling, relative, friend and sometimes a child can be very, very traumatic. How can I ever heal out of it???
Another common question for most people.
The design of life is cyclical
After a few agonizing days or months, you become quiet and start reflecting on life’s very important questions and you will get answers for sure. Life itself is a cycle. Whatever is born, is bound to die and whatever is dead will be born again, this is the nature of life itself. We get examples from trees and all other creatures who accept this cycle very easily and without any resistance. For human beings, though, it is more complicated because of our connections and the depth of our relationships which makes life so precious and beautiful. Without these questions, suffering, and pain, life would be meaningless because the opposite emotions of love, joy, sharing, and caring are interconnected with these feelings of loss and pain. If you experience one set of emotions, you are bound to experience the opposites too. How can we learn to be the same in pain and pleasure?
It’s time to seek divine intervention
The death of a loved one is so traumatic that you will start seeking answers and the Divine is the only source of all answers. As you keep going inwards and get more and more reflective and meditative, you will start understanding the Divine plan in this existence. The spiritual and material is intimately connected and cannot be separated. As you keep on reflecting and going deeper within yourself, you will find the two intertwined intimately. Who am I? Am I this body and mind, which keeps changing every moment? Or am I the consciousness inside me which remains the same always? Or am I a beautiful combination of both, material and spiritual?
We all appear to be separate individuals with separate bodies and different ways of thinking and behavior. Everyone is unique, no two people are the same. That is the beauty of existence. But at a deeper level, we are all One. There is no separation. Even though we appear to be different, on a deeper level, we are the same consciousness. To understand and accept both these, the differences, and the similarity is an awakening. Once you awaken from this dream existence, you transform forever. Slowly and steadily you start seeing the separation and oneness at all times of your day and night. Then life and death appear to be the two sides of the same coin. Death is only of the body and mind. The soul never dies. So whatever you are learning, you are able to experience when you experience the Death of a loved one. The body and mind of that person no longer exist but the soul is everlasting. So there is no Death at all in the real sense. The person is there and will always be there but not the way you know him or her, not as the same body and mind.
Understanding the reality of life becomes inevitable when you reflect deeply and try to find answers. Death helps you understand and connect with the Divine, helps you accept reality. Everything in the world is ultimately an illusion but you can always make it a good illusion, filled with love and joy and richer and better relationships and more involvement. The choice is entirely yours. Choose wisely and be happy and enjoy every moment whether there are happy or sad events.
Everything is a dream, life is a movie. Choose a movie that is meaningful and sweet. Everything is in your hands if you see it that way. By overcoming the sadness of losing your loved one, you can win the game of life and its complicated problems. The choice is always yours.