Sadness friend or foe…?

Sadness is one aspect of grief.

The sadness and sorrow after the death of someone central to who we are, is frequently of an overwhelming nature, powerfully uncomfortable and sometimes frightening in intensity.

It is also an emotion that people want to apologise for, thinking it a sign of ‘not moving on’, of weakness and inadequacy.

At its purest, sadness is love in the face of physical absence.

Grieving may be understood as what is experienced as one becomes accustomed to a world forever changed the includes the person who died with a different connection, a non-physical one.

People may die, but our relationships with them do not.

Sadness is, in fact, a useful and necessary emotion.

Leaving aside cultural rules about this emotion, the question may be asked as to what purpose does it serve?…What good does it do?…Why would nature have chosen this emotion?

The emotion of sadness occurs when we have lost someone or something that is important to us, and there is nothing we can do about it.  Sadness turns our attention inward so that we can reflect and think.  It allows a close examination of everything…which is part of what is necessary to rebuild life around the pain of loss.

Sadness slows us down; it slows down our biological systems contributing to withdrawing of attention from the outside world to our inner world.

Moreover, when we are sad, we look sad.  Our face and body language signal to those around us that we may need help, care and compassionate understanding.

We are hard-wired to respond to each other in this way.  We are biologically constructed to respond with care and concern when we see others suffering.

While many of us have been conditioned to perceive sadness as a negative emotion, it is a necessary emotion and has its usefulness and wisdom.

We are expected to be in control of our emotions and while it is important to learn how to ‘dose” ourselves when faced with intense emotions i,e. Get a break from them; it is important not to suppress them, deny or avoid them,

We, in our culture, tend to overvalue reason, logic and the capacity to be rational.  Conversely, the language of the heart tends to be undervalued.

We search and are encouraged to seek quick remedy, relief and recovery.  We don’t like to be vulnerable, out of control.  We tend to keep our intense emotions secret and unseen and may even feel ashamed of them.

We are taught that to give too much room to intense emotions may be a sign of weakness or breakdown.

We turn away rather than toward them because of cultural conditioning and because they can also be frightening.

Grieving people sometimes fear that they will be overwhelmed by emotions like passionate sadness forever.  They may also feel as if they are going crazy because of the intensity and unpredictability of intense sadness.

Our language is full of advice such as ‘get a hold of your self’, ‘get a grip’, ‘stay in control’ amongst many others.

The fear is that overwhelming emotion may be destructive.

We are sometimes encouraged to take medication that will make us feel better.  The focus is on getting rid of strong emotions rather than learning from them.  It may be difficult to believe that having strong, intense emotions acknowledged, listened and attended to, in fact, helps them diminish.

Sadness and sorrow are neither positive nor negative in themselves …it is the way we think about them that is positive or negative.  How we think about things affects how problematic they may become.

Profound and passionate sadness is not a bad thing.  It is the most normal emotion imaginable following the death of a child.  While at the beginning that sadness may fill every inch of your being, it does not stay the same shape and colour for the rest of time.

Feeling emotional pain is not a sign of being sick…it is a sign of having loved deeply.  It is the other side of love and as noted previously plays an important role in rebuilding life around the pain of loss.  It allows an inward reflection on such questions as  ‘Who am I now?’, ‘How am I different?’, ‘What do I need?’, etc. and it acts as a signal to the world around that compassionate care is required.  This care includes the time and space to, for a while, withdraw from our normal concerns.

In spending time with intense and profound emotion, it is possible to discover or renew the capacity for gratitude, joy, faith, courage and compassion.

Healing is a journey through pain not a departure from it.

The purpose of intense emotion is not to make us miserable forever but to help us heal.

_lonely_mindful_nature_person_relaxing_repose_sitting_solitary_sun_thinking_thoughtful_woman
with special thanks to my social work colleague Vera Russell

Supporting Grieving Adolescents

fantastic-wallpaper-with-butterflieMany bereaved families may have surviving adolescent children who are mourning the loss of their brother or sister.

This is often new territory both for the teenager and also for the parents trying to work out our best to care for them especially when they are feeling so emotionally depleted.

Some things to think about:

1. Grief is not always visible

Grief is not just the outward display of emotion. It is also the thoughts and behaviours that we experience in response to the death of someone we love.
As adolescents are in the process of becoming more independent of their parents and other important adults, they may at times feel reluctant to show feelings or talk about their thoughts as it can reinforce a sense of dependence and vulnerability. They may also choose to inhibit some of their thoughts and feelings out of a desire to protect their families. They may also prefer to share their experiences with their peer group.

Strategy: Be available

It is when we are listened to and heard is when we feel most understood. Create a home environment where open communication is encouraged. Convey to them that it is okay to have the thoughts and feelings that they may have and that you will be available should they decide to let you know what is going on with them.
As with adults, at the beginning of grief, it is sometimes very difficult to communicate what we are thinking and feeling…it is no less difficult for adolescents who have less life experience than adults and who, when they are feeling vulnerable may find it difficult to put things into words.

2. Don’t try to “fix” the pain associated with grief

It is difficult and uncomfortable for parents to witness the pain of their children. They usually want life to be okay for their children and are pained by what they see and uncomfortable about the helplessness it can create in them. This means that we may want to take away or fix the pain of those we love. This may take the form of avoiding conversation about the person who has died or distracting them from thinking or feeling their pain. While this may be momentarily effective, it can result in the adolescent hiding their grief or withdrawing or expressing their grief in destructive ways.

Strategy: Talk about the loss

Invite the adolescent to talk about the person who died. Encourage questions. Should the teenager not want to talk, respect this. Offer others that they may speak with about their feelings.
Always answer questions honestly and clearly. If you do not know the answer to something, say so. Share your memories, thoughts, beliefs and don’t expect that your teenager will always see things as you do.

3) Understand that grief does not proceed in orderly predictable stages.

Young people grieve in doses. Like with adults, their grief is more likely to go in waves. Sometimes adolescents may have outbursts of grief after a period when they have seemed perfectly okay. Know that this is normal. Their grief like yours, may at times seem unpredictable. They are no better at grieving or making sense of the world than adults. The difference is that they may seem unaffected for periods of time and a burst of emotion can catch parents unawares.

Strategy: Allow for adjustment

Because grief does not proceed in an orderly fashion, teenagers need to be allowed leeway as they adjust to a life forever changed. Providing a secure, consistent environment with predictable routines is important. This helps to generate a renewed feeling of safety and security. Be aware of any danger signs such as violence, drug and alcohol abuse, risk-taking behaviour or dramatic changes in personality. Seek help when necessary.

4) Model Healthy Grief

Like all of us, adolescents learn from those around them. They will pick up implicit and explicit messages from those around them on how to grieve. This is how they think they should behave or are expected to behave. They take their cues from important grown-ups in their lives (even if they do not look like they are paying attention).

Strategy: Mourn together

Be aware of the messages that they may be receiving from those around them about how to grieve and offer alternatives when appropriate.
The more adolescents observe healthy communication and the appropriate expression of the many feelings associated with loss, the more likely they may understand, accept and manage the breadth of emotions and thoughts they may have.

Try as much as possible to consider what things might look like from their perspective. Give thought to the closeness of the relationship your teenager shared with their brother or sister. Acknowledge the deep loss it is for them too.

When you can, in the midst of your grief, set aside time, attention and availability for the adolescent. That does not necessarily mean talking about the death but maybe just time spent together doing something that is fun and thereby communicating that they matter and they too are important.

Finally, remember that this is new for all of you and that there will be some trial and error as families become better able to take care of each other.

A mother’s tale of growth after the death of her son…

The below writing is a heartfelt story from a mother who has buried her child; I include her story in its entirety simply because her message is so very important.  Apart from some grammatical errors, nothing has been changed.

 

A Story from Elise and her beloved son Luke who now resides in the realm of spirit.

I wrote the following FB post a few months after two incredible experiences that shifted my grief journey into a much lighter, grateful, and peaceful place.   Last August I did a type of grief therapy called Repair & Reattachment Grief Therapy with Rochelle Wright, she wrote a book about it with Craig Hogan.   (I know, without a doubt. I was lead to her by my Luke, but that is a whole other story); it re-framed all of the terrible memories of my son’s last hours on earth.   The bad memories are completely gone and replaced with amazing new memories of me with my boy.

Then only a month later, I attended the Afterlife Research and Education Symposium (again, a ton of signs lead me there including Rochelle asking to talk about Luke and me in her presentation at the conference).   Both the therapy and the conference were the first time I had travelled anywhere since Luke passed.   I had a ton of anxiety about travelling and leaving my young son and while it had been over 2.5 years and I almost cancelled both trips right before, but I was completely pushed to go by Luke/Spirit.

It turned out to be completely life-changing for me. I think learning all we can about the afterlife and becoming truly grateful for our earth experiences can shift us into a life filled with supernatural miracles instead of just human suffering. May you find comfort if you choose to read further. I am so thankful for my sweet, beautiful boy who was my teacher then and continues to be now. ❤️

 

I have been mulling some things over the past couple months and thought I would write it out hoping it may help someone else. I have had quite an intense shift in my perspective which has made my life and my grief journey so much better. In mid-September, I attended the Afterlife Research and Education Symposium in Scottsdale, Arizona.

 

For the first time, I was surrounded by people (a lot of them…over 500) who believe that our deceased loved ones still exist and are interacting with us with signs and messages of love.   Yes, they have shed their physical bodies, but their Spirits are alive and well on “the other side.” Spiritual signs are not new to me.   I experience so many spiritual communications between myself with my boy Luke in my daily life.

 

I kind of feel like a “weirdo” for thinking this which is quite odd to me because many people and most religions do believe in life after death but seem not to have much to say about the people who have transitioned over. It was very comforting for me to be in a place where I felt like I belonged and where the atmosphere radiated loving energy.

Most of the people at this conference had lost someone incredibly important to them which lead them to seek out learning more about the afterlife, and I met several sweet grieving mothers while there.   One conversation, in particular, did get me thinking because I was a bit surprised at what I said.   I sat down about 10 minutes early before the presentations on Saturday afternoon began.  Another young woman sitting next to me struck up a conversation. She asked me what brought me to the conference and I told her that my oldest son was in Spirit and of course her immediate reaction was sadness and response of “I am so sorry.”

I nodded and said thank you and then shocked myself by saying “Actually I am not sorry and let me explain why.” This writing may come out clumsy, so I apologize in advance but know it is all from my heart.   I will no longer say I am sorry about my beautiful boy Luke anymore and I will not let the moment of his physical death overshadow the amazing 5+ years he had on earth and the beautiful eternity he is experiencing now.

He was, and still is, my biggest blessing and I am not sorry about that at all. His life and “death” catapulted me into intense learning, growth, and transformation and I am not sorry about that. I had learned so much and am still learning and, even more important, yearn to learn which wasn’t even a concept in my life when Luke was still here physically.

The millions of beautiful moments I had with him while he was here on earth and the connection we continue to have completely trumped the moment of his physical death.

Yes, I still feel intense sadness that I do not get to talk with him and hold him and watch him grow up here on earth. I will never deny my longing to have him physically here, but my gratitude that he was mine in the first place and is mine forever makes it all worthwhile.  I have realized that I never fully comprehended what being thankful meant before.

I am so incredibly thankful for my beautiful sweet boy and all that he has taught me and continued to teach me. I am so thankful he chose me to be his Mama, and he gave me the gift of telling me that fact a week before his unexpected passing.   I am so blessed with such a special little boy with a supernatural understanding of Heaven, to the point where I know for a fact he came from Heaven and then went back again.

He was pure love and joy in human form, and his amazing soul still can shine his light down on me which gives me the energy to keep going. Yes, he left his earthly life earlier than what I would have liked, but I know God called him Home because his work here completed and that it is only because of him (in both physical presence and his spirit presence) that I am growing into the person I am now.

I may not yet know what I am here to accomplish, but I do know that it will be revealed in time and that Luke is with me every step of the way.   I still feel his incredible love and am surrounded by it and reminded of it daily. His signs of love reaffirm his existence, and I am so lucky that I know without a doubt that I will be with my boy again one day.

I used to wish for that day to come soon but I no longer do. I used to think that there was absolutely no way I could survive “x” number of years without my Luke but now know after surviving almost three years now and learning all that I have, that I can survive and WILL SURVIVE because my soul knows I still have work to do and lessons to learn.

I am letting my life unfold instead of trying to control everything as I did in the past. I know I will be lead to the places I need to go and to the people I need to meet for my continued healing and the healing of others. I am keeping myself open to whatever crosses my path and know that even when “bad” things happen, blessings can still abound.

I will always try to find the bit of good in what seems bad and to see the potential for growth in everything that occurs. Everyone has their journey and lessons to learn, and I am grateful to be able to share with you all that I have learned so far.

Sending blessings and love out to Facebook land today!

 

 

 

 

 

http://afterlifeinstitute.org/

#LovefromLuke
#ShiningLightParent
#StillRightHere

Photo by Lora Denton Photography ~ Sept. 2017

Helping Parents Heal…

Australia and New Zealand Parents

Helping Parents Heal Inaugural Online Meeting for Parents

Helping Parents Heal is a wonderful organisation designed to allow parents whose children have transitioned to support each other. Unlike many bereavement support organisations, members share knowledge about signs, after death contacts, mediums and other methods of direct communication with their children. HPH meetings are uplifting, inspiring and enlightening.

When: 19th December

Where: Online Zoom – by putting this link into your browser Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://zoom.us/j/6123708172

Or email karynjarvie@ozemail.com.au

When:

4.30 Perth
6.00 pm Darwin
6.30 pm Brisbane
7.00 pm Adelaide
7.30 pm Hobart
7.30 pm Melbourne
7.30 pm Sydney
9.30 pm Christchurch
9.30 pm Wellington

Zoom is the leader in modern enterprise video communications, with an easy, reliable cloud platform for video and audio conferencing, chat, and webinars across mobile, desktop, and room systems. Zoom Rooms is the original software-based conference…
ZOOM.US

Holiday hints from James Van Praagh

“You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?”
“I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.”

Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol

 

Stressing at the thought of spending time with your extended family over the holidays? For many, the dynamic can be disappointingly predictable. Family situations tend to trigger emotions – an

offhand comment from a parent or sibling can cause a cascade of painful memories, insecurities and emotions. This year, I urge you to treat these trigger points as opportunities to break dysfunctional behavior patterns that (like Jacob Marley’s chains) hold you back from approaching the holidays – and every day – with joy and love.

Experience your own holiday breakthrough with these four simple steps:

1) Manage Your Expectations. Thoughts and words are powerful things, so don’t set yourself up for failure by imagining what could go wrong. If you anticipate that your sister will make a snarky comment about your outfit or your father will grumble that the turkey you slaved over is dry, the law of attraction will deliver those things right to you. Instead, imagine how you want things to go – you’re more likely to attract a good result! But don’t expect one day to heal the wounds of a lifetime. That leads us to step 2.

2) Stay in the moment and take things at face value. If a friend or relative is being polite and helpful today, don’t look back to a time when they were not. Also, don’t take things personally. A friend asked me for advice one year because she was considering “uninviting” her favorite cousin and her husband from Thanksgiving dinner because the husband’s behavior was “offensive.” When I asked her to describe the behavior, she explained that he didn’t engage in conversation, ate very little, and never complimented the food. I advised her to try not taking anything he did personally – assume he wasn’t hungry, was shy, had food allergies, whatever it took to coexist with him so she could continue to share the space with her cousin. After the day was over, she called me and said “Everything went fine! We ignored the fact that Bill was quiet and didn’t eat much, and just let him be. After a while he actually seemed comfortable, and after dinner he opened up to us more than he ever had before.”

3) Ask yourself – “What is the lesson here?” Create a new tradition for yourself and declare Thanksgiving the time to give gratitude for lessons your family has taught you. If Dad can’t help himself from criticizing your choice of careers, be thankful that his actins have forced you to be strong in your determination to live your own life. If your sister acts like a spoiled brat, silently thank her for teaching you how be an adult and take the high road.

4) Remember to push the pause button. Without anticipating them, be mindful of your triggers. If they occur, hit the pause button. Stop, take a few breaths, and look at the entire situation. See it for what it is and ask yourself how to use this OPPORTUNITY to break a past behavioral pattern. Don’t react the way you always have. Instead pause, look for the lesson, and send that person your love and compassion.

With mindfulness, unconditional love and the intention of breaking old patterns you can fill this season with light – and I know you’ll enjoy watching friends and family experiencing the ripple effect of your love and compassion!

Quiet time…

“Take some quiet time for yourself. In the quietness you will begin to recognize yourself again.   We so easily lose ourselves in the daily shuffle of life. Mindfulness and awareness will allow you to participate in your life rather than only reacting to life.

Through practicing mindfulness, you can begin to enjoy the simple things in life that have been lost in the clutter. Meditation is the powerful antidote to many of the poisons in your life; it stills vast yearnings and inner-discontentments.

Meditation provides a reprieve from the vicious swings of worry; that horrid place where our mind continually wanders, where it’s filled with fear and grasping for unknowable futures.

Meditation opens you to completeness; a moment of true reality. Meditation does not strive — it only opens you to what is. As your hopes and desires disappear, you emerge.

Through meditation you begin to take form in your interior as a beautiful being. Free from self-deception and fear, you will start to see and believe in your own beauty. As you submerge into your own realm of nothingness you feel you are being pulled into some great oneness; a mending of the fractures in your own consciousness.

Nothing to conquer or control, no-one to quarrel with — the still mind is peaceful, and the still mind is free. Your quiet moments prepare you for the harsh scuffles and abrasions of life.

Take some quiet time for yourself to center and to transcend the madness. Quietness is the most unpretentious preparation for a life of peaceful significance.”

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Bryant McGill – http://www.BryantMcGill.com

Letter from heaven…

Dear……………,
Now that I am in Heaven, I know that life for you there just isn’t the same.   I want you to know that I hear you say how much you miss me and love me every day.   Yes, I still hear you.    I love you so much too.    My love for you will never waiver from Heaven.   I can’t say that I miss you because you see, missing you is a negative emotion, and we simply don’t have negative emotions here in Heaven.   And so, instead of missing you for all of the years that you have left in your life, I will Love you through them.   I know it is hard to continue when you feel you are walking through life without me, but I want you to know that I am right here next to you.   I walk through your life with you now, guiding you and helping you along the way.     Our relationship never ended when I graduated to Heaven; it is simply different now.      Heaven is all around you.    Heaven is truly only 3 feet off of your floor.

I want you to look for the signs that I leave for you from Heaven. You won’t have to look very hard because I will surround you with signs in so many different ways.   You see, I am limitless when it comes to leaving you signs.   Birds, butterflies, silly shaped rocks, rainbows, clouds that look like me, electronic mishaps, songs on your radio, coins, feathers, oh I wouldn’t begin to be able to tell you how many different kinds of signs that I can bring into your path.   When you see the signs I send, don’t let your conscious mind tell you that it wasn’t from me, because it was.   Sometimes you may miss the signs that I send you because it is hard to see the beauty in the world around you through tears and that is okay; I will just keep with the signs of love until those tears clear.

I am not missing out on your milestones or the milestones within our family.   I love the way you think of me so often.   The ways that you and the family have honoured me since I journeyed home to heaven are pretty amazing.   Please try not to dwell on the day and way that I passed, for my legacy of love that I left behind for you is so much more beautiful than my passing.    It hurts you to think of my passing, and that hurt is not the best part of me that I left for you.    I want you to hold on to our sweet memories that we share with one another.

When you find yourself in a day of tears, please just replace one of those tears with your favourite memory of me.   I will sit with you as you remember me and enjoy the memory with you.   I know you would love to see me in dreams every night as you go to sleep.   I would love to be there in your dreams each night as well.   When you say out loud, “I never see you in my dreams”, it places blocks in my way because your energy says that you don’t see me.   I want to help you with that.   I want you to change that phrase to, “ I look forward to seeing you in my dreams in your perfect timing”.   It will help you to place this positive focus on seeing me in your dreams when the timing is right.   The reason I don’t come every night in your dreams is that you do need space to work through your grief as well.

You see, you are gaining more strength through your grief than you ever knew you could carry in life.   Part of that strength is my gift to you, and that gift will only make sense someday when you return home to Heaven here with me. We spend our lives there living for our spiritual growth.    Some of the most beautiful spirits write from and of the most difficult paths, and I want you to be so proud of yourself for the life you are living with all of the obstacles you placed within your path.   I also want you to know how extremely proud of you I am as I watch you learn and grow from Heaven. You are not being punished when I went to Heaven before you.    I simply reached my soul’s beautiful goal of growth in life.   I achieved this amazing goal before you, and it didn’t mean that I left you for one moment.   I graduated to the next part of my eternal journey.

Oh, you should have seen it when I got here!!   All of our family and friends who graduated  before me were right at my side to greet me when I arrived.   Even the pets that we had along the way were waiting with smiles and wags as I walked into the light!   I went into a review of my life after I arrived and it was incredible to see all of the lives I touched there with mine.   I got to re-live my life through the eyes of every person that my life touched along the way.   It was beautiful to watch my life through your eyes as well.   Don’t worry, when you get here, you will get to review your life through everyone’s eyes as well as your own and even through mine.   There will be moments you are extremely proud of, and there will also be moments that you will recognize that you could have handled differently.   But, the beauty of those moments is that you are living, and in your life, not everything will be perfect, and that is just part of our growth.   None of us can take back the things we could have done differently, but we sure can grow from those moments.   Of course, me telling you this now gives you an opportunity to look at the days in your future differently so that you will be proud of them when you look back.   I didn’t have to make myself a home when I arrived here because I already had one.   You see, I lived in Heaven before I lived there on Earth with you and I simply returned to my beautiful home.   You will remember it too when you get here.

The colours here in Heaven aren’t like anything you have there on Earth!   The light that fills the air lifts our souls with love.   The Angel’s choir has such a Heavenly sound that it brings peaceful showers of love down upon you all on Earth.   The weather here is perfect always.   Time doesn’t exist here which is nice too, I mean we don’t have to run around heaven looking at our watches on our spirit wrists worried about being late for anything,   You see, you can’t place a time on Eternity.

We don’t work here in the way that you all work on Earth, but we do work.  We work on our spiritual growth, and we are always working on the beautiful evolution of our Souls growth and strength.   Just remember as you walk through your life every day, that I am right here at your side.   I cheer you on in your times of Greatness, and I wipe your tears in your moments of pain.   So what if you have a day of tears, I will stay at your side for comfort. I can tell you that I am most proud of you as you get out and live life to its fullest. I don’t want you to think that you can no longer live because I am “Gone” because I am not gone at all.   Carry me with you in all that you do for I am here. The dreams that you wish you could have lived out with me in life are still possible and don’t you worry;  I won’t miss them.

My biggest message of all in this letter to you is that I am perfect, don’t worry about me.  I Love you, and I am with you for always, I want to see you live life to its fullest, I want to see you catch your dreams and I see you and hear you always both when you speak out loud and even when you talk silently to me in your mind.   Someday this will all make perfect sense when you get to be with me so don’t worry that it doesn’t make sense now. Just know that you are a miracle and because you are a miracle, you are capable of creating miracles as well.

I Love You……

All Of My Love,
Me Up In Heaven.

 

heart roseadapted letter

 

from “They Shall be Comforted”

Maurice Barbanell (1902-1981) was an accomplished journalist and superb medium for the Teachings of Silver Birch.  The description of “life after life” in his book “They Shall Be Comforted” is well worth sharing.

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If you are currently grieving the passing of a loved one, you are urged to read this extract.

One day after “death” you will be the same individual as you were one day before it, except that you will have discarded your physical body.    You will express yourself through your etheric body, which is a replica of the physical one.    It does not, however, reproduce any of its imperfections.

All disease and infirmities will be left behind.    The deaf will hear.   The dumb will speak. The blind will see.   The cripple will be a cripple no longer.

You must try and understand that life in the spirit world is not dreamy or nebulous.   It is full of activity.     It is just as real as the life that each one of us lives here.     We are accustomed to thinking of the material world as being real and solid, although actually, this is not so, as the science of physics proves.    The things of the mind, or the spirit, seem to us shadowy and vague, but to those who live on the Other Side, the mental is the real and the physical is the shadow.

This doubtless will be hard for you to grasp, but you will find a perfect analogy if you think of your dreams.     When you dream, all the things that you encounter are real at the time of their happening. They only become dreams when you wake up.    If you never woke up, and dreaming was the perpetual state of your existence, then that state would become your reality.

The spirit world is round and about us.    Some people see it and hear it because they can tune into its vibrations.     It is not situated in some far-off continent.     It is a part of the universe, blending and intermingling with the physical world.

You must dismiss from your mind the old-fashioned theological idea that, after “death,” there is an undisturbed eternal sleep.      There may be, at first, a short time of rest to enable the newly-arrived spirit to adjust himself to his new life.   This usually takes a little time. Then he meets those who have preceded him.   Families are reunited.    Old associations are re-established.    Friendships are renewed.

I know the question you will ask is, “How will I be able to recognise those who have gone before?”   This is not a real difficulty.   They will know you, having watched over you and kept in constant touch with you.   Then, because the spirit world is a place where thought is the reality, they will be able to show themselves to you as you knew them.

There is, however, one great factor always operating in the spirit world – the unalterable law of attraction.   Only those of like spiritual qualities can meet on the same plane in the new life. The husband and wife, who were only held together on earth by a legal tie, and between whom no real love existed, will not be together in spirit life.

Sometimes, people are puzzled because they learn that there are houses on the Other Side.    You must remember, though, these are not houses made of bricks and mortar but constructed out of thought.    This applies also to the clothing that is worn.

The instinct to clothe oneself is deeply rooted and has become habitual. No one would dream of walking through the streets unclothed.    This habit is part of our mental make-up.    That is why it persists on the Other Side where mental states are the reality.

“What about food?” you may ask. “Do they eat?”

As long as there is a desire for food, this mental desire is mentally satisfied.    As long as the individual craves for food and drink, he can obtain the illusion of what he requires – and it satisfies him.   You may call this material if you like, but it is far more sane and logical than pearly gates and golden harps!

In the spirit world, there are no language difficulties.   All people of all nations speak the same language – thought.    There are no words to be mouthed, for ideas are conveyed telepathically, from one person to another.     Words, after all, are but clumsy substitutions for thoughts.    They are artificial means by which we communicate our ideas to one another.   But words can never adequately express the thoughts one is trying to convey.

One day, when the human race has evolved,  language will be abolished.   We will have learnt how to send our ideas to each other telepathically.    Then, many of our international difficulties will disappear.

In the spirit world, each person’s thoughts are known and cannot be hidden.   There can be no deception of pretence.   Every individual is known for what he is.   He cannot deceive anybody, for lying is impossible.

“What about age?” you may ask. “What happens to old people who pass on?”

Physical age and mental growth do not proceed at the same rate.   We rashly judge a man’s mentality by the age of his physical body here.   On the Other Side of life, it is the mind which survives, and mental growth consists of progress towards maturity.   Little children will grow older.   The old people grow younger in spirit.

What work do they do?   Each person seeks to express his natural bent.   In this earthly life of ours, there are thousands of singers who have never sung; actors who have never acted; painters who have never painted; poets who have never written a line of poetry; musicians who have never composed a note of music.   All these talents have never had an opportunity of being expressed, because through economic circumstances usually, the owners had to follow some other occupation to secure their bread and butter.

On the Other Side, they can express their talents.   There are no square pegs in round holes in that world.   For them, life is one continuous road of progress, each person striving to eliminate the dross from his nature and perfecting his own being. In that striving for perfection, there is no limit.   It goes on for eternity.

The spirit world will not be so unfamiliar as we think because … most of us visit it in our sleep state.   Unfortunately, few of us remember what transpires.   When, however, we pass on, the law of association of ideas will recall our nocturnal experiences.

Of course, it takes some time for the newly arrived spirit to acclimatise himself to the conditions of life on the Other Side.   This process of awakening differs according to the knowledge of spirit life that the “dead” man had before his passing.   The more ignorant he was, the longer it will take him to familiarise himself with his new conditions.

Then, too, those who were trained in very orthodox ideas, with rigid conceptions of after-“death” states, experience a great difficulty, because the next stage of life being a mental one, they live in the mental world they have created, until they have evolved sufficiently to dispel this illusion.

When we pass on, we do not enter Heaven through “pearly gates”, neither do we descend to Hell through lakes of “fire and brimstone”.    Nor do we sleep forever.

Each one of us naturally gravitates to the spiritual sphere for which we are fitted, according to the life we have lived and the character we have evolved here.   We cannot occupy a higher sphere than the spiritual status we have reached, nor will we desire to occupy a lower one.    Automatically, we shall go just to that plane of spirit life for which we are fitted.   We shall not be able to pretend that we are better or worse, for stripped of our physical body we shall be revealed and known for what we are.

People who have lived normal lives will not find anything to disappoint them when they arrive in the spirit world.   It is the selfish man who has to face great difficulties, due to these earthly habits which act as a barrier to be overcome by progress before he is fitted to associate with those he loves.   If by virtue of life he has lived upon earth, he has cut himself off from those who love him, that will be his hell.

What is heaven?   It is the reward of a life wisely spent on earth, for it will mean that automatically we reach those we love … heaven and hell are mental states.   Of course, those who dwell on a higher plane can, if they so desire, visit spirits on relatively lower spheres.   This they often do.   But it is impossible for those on lower planes to visit those on higher.

In many cases, those who “die” go through a difficult period of stress, due to the fact they cannot reach the ones they love on earth.   When they have awakened to an understanding of their new life, they naturally return to their loved ones to try to tell them of their survival.    They find it hard to understand that while they can see the earthly members of their families, the bereaved are unable to sense the presence of those for whom they are mourning.

This is a very poignant sorrow that thousands of spirits experience. They do all they can to attract the attention of earthly friends, but too often they fail and have to leave them disconsolate.

By some law which we do not understand, those on the Other Side know a little beforehand when somebody is going to pass from this world.   They make the necessary preparations to greet them and to help them with their passing.    This explains the fact that on hundreds of occasions people before they “die” have named “dead” relatives they said they could see in the room.   Sometimes these spirit relatives have been seen by those in attendance on the “dying” person.

Clairvoyants who have witnessed the “death” of an individual tell us that they see a replica of the physical body gradually rise, connected for a while by a thread (it is what the Bible describes as the “silver cord”) which is attached to a vicinity near the brain. When the thread is snapped, “death” takes place.   This etheric body is then seen to rise upwards until it disappears from view.

The one thing that brings the greatest sorrow to those who have passed on is our excessive grief.   This, curiously enough, acts as a deterrent to their getting close to us. They do not like the constant visits to the graveyard as they know they are not there. Most Spiritualists make a habit of placing flowers near the photograph of the one who has passed on, particularly remembering anniversaries.   This serves to perpetuate the idea that the spirit is constantly in the home.

Spiritualist also indulge in the habit of mentally communicating with those who have passed on by sending them messages, treating them as if they were actually present in the room.    I know that these messages are received, for again and again I have heard spirit return thanks for this communion and give evidence that he has received it by repeating to the medium some of the ideas expressed.

Spirit life is not a state of vagueness or eternal sleep, but one of activity and labour. Idleness and unemployment do not exist there.    There is plenty for all to do, although I know it is difficult for us who are immersed in material affairs to appreciate the activities of the spiritual world.

Apart from labour, there is the opportunity for recreation and enjoyment.   There are means of education and instruction in all branches of life – in just that particular form of knowledge which the spirit desires.

Of course, many of them are engaged in tasks which mean co-operation with people in this world.    Some of them are hard at work helping to make communication between the two worlds easier.

Others, attracted by people in our world who are following similar lines of research, industry, art or reform, naturally return to inspire those efforts, although often people in this world are unconscious of spirit interest.

(from “They Shall Be Comforted” by Maurice Barbanell,

published by the Psychic Book Club, London. Not dated.)

8 Suggestions for Therapists working with bereaved parents

©DAVE ROBERTS
My niece at a Hospice Butterfly Release (2013)

Working with a parent whose child has died can present unique challenges for a therapist on two levels:

 

1) A therapist who is also a mother or father finds themselves confronted with a parent’s worst nightmare. Unless acknowledged in clinical supervision, he/she may have difficulty being objective when working with surviving parents and family members.

 

2) The discovery that short-term or solution focused therapies falls short in addressing the ongoing challenges faced by parents after the death of their children.

 

I am a Licensed Master Social Worker, a retired addiction professional and a parent who has experienced the death of a child. My daughter Jeannine died on March 1, 2003, at the age of 18, due to a rare and aggressive form of cancer.

The re-examination of my personal priorities and values following Jeannine’s death, extended to the therapeutic approaches that I used with chemically dependent individuals. Prior to Jeannine’s death, I typically employed the stage theory of grief with substance users who experienced loss due to death. Stage theory was all that I knew.

 

My own experience after catastrophic loss taught me that grief didn’t progress in a series of linear, predictable stages. If grief wasn’t linear for me, then I couldn’t expect it to be for my clients.

 

Based on what I have discovered about myself today, I want to share 8 suggestions for therapists working with bereaved parents. I also believe that what follows applies to all individuals who have experienced loss due to death:

  • Focus on being a companion on the journey: It is important for therapists to bear witness to a parent’s path after the death of their child. Stories of relationships with their children need to be honoured. Through storytelling, therapists get to know the deceased child through the eyes of the parent.
  • Be prepared to witness parents’ experiences with after-death communication:  Many parents that I have companioned, routinely share instances where they have sensed the presence of their children. Since Jeannine’s death, I have received many signs of her presence. It is important for therapists to ask parents what thoughts they experienced prior to receiving the communication. The signs that parents receive from their children are usually a result of what transpires in the present. Some therapists may be sceptical of the existence of after death communication. Regardless of beliefs, it is important to reserve judgment and listen. I was one of those sceptics ……until my daughter died. Two very good books on this topic are: Hello From Heaven by Bill and Judy Guggenheim and Visions of the Bereaved by Kay Witmer Woods.
  • Recognise each parent’s right to grieve as he/she sees fit: Each parent’s expression of pain is unique. Empower parents to grieve in a way that is meaningful for them and effectively facilitates mourning after their children die. Any healthy expression of grief should be honoured
  • Emphasise the importance of ongoing support: Usually support groups composed of individuals who have experienced a similar type of loss (i.e. child, spouse) are the most effective. In my experience, effective therapy plus meaningful peer support is a powerful combination to help bereaved parents work through their grief.
  • Being aware of language: Avoid the use of the terms “closure “and “moving on” in therapy. Bereaved parents learn to navigate grief by maintaining ongoing bonds with their loved ones. It is through remembering and honouring the existence of their children, for as long as they live, that facilitates meaningful lives after loss.
  • Recognise that the sadness of loss is not the same as clinical depression: With grief work and ongoing support, sadness lessens and become more manageable over time. Many grieving individuals with whom I have worked, didn’t have a history of mental health challenges. Medicating grief for these individuals may delay the work that is needed to effectively negotiate it. However, if a therapist is working with bereaved parents with pre-existing emotional health or substance use issues, continued management of mental health symptoms and/or maintenance of sobriety for grief work to be effective, needs to be emphasised.
  • Helping bereaved parents recognise that they are much more: For purposes of clarity, I have used the term bereaved parents throughout this piece. It is crucial that therapists help parents discover that their identities extend beyond being bereaved. With the help of others and my desire to see the experience of loss differently, I began acknowledging my other skills as a parent to my two surviving children and as a teacher, friend and husband. Don’t allow parents to buy into the illusion that being bereaved is the totality of their identity.
  • Emphasise self-care: Though I have discovered that bereavement support is extremely fulfilling, continually attending to the energy of parents who have experienced the death of a child, can be extremely draining. It is crucial for therapists to routinely empower parents to do what nourishes their souls, in the aftermath of the death of their children. As a therapist empowers bereaved parents to fulfil their needs, he/she must be mindful of doing the same with respect to his/her needs.

 

Dave Roberts, Contributor Huffington Post, Adjunct Professor of Psychology-Utica College, Writer and speaker with specialities in grief and loss, spirituality and addiction.