Wednesday, February 16, 2011

How to Prepare for the Loss of a Loved One and Help Others

CHICAGO - SEPTEMBER 28:  Young girls embrace o...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Earlier this week, I asked a question on Facebook in order to get some feedback on how to be of assistance to my friends and family who are going through times of loss.  I got a few responses from people that I had not seen or heard from since High School and just befriended on FB within the last week and was so grateful for the time taken to respond.  The other reply was from someone that I may have met once and has chosen to take the time to offer himself as a source of knowledge and wisdom to those who seek in earnest.  I wondered about the silence from those other 200 or more people…What did it mean?
Speaking about death is something that is not very easy to do and very rarely approached in our society.  It is almost like a subject that is taboo.  We have such great fears about death and strong emotion that we often choose to ignore and avoid it when it is a phase of life that we all must face.  Just like any other time in our lives, it would benefit us greatly to examine ourselves and become familiar with our thoughts and feelings about death.  What it means to us, what are our fears and beliefs that surround death…In doing this, we can allow ourselves the opportunity to identify thoughts and beliefs that would inhibit the grieving process and our appreciation of the life that was and the recognition of the spirit that always is.
I belonged to a church several years ago that had a practice that we re-enacted every service and at any event: libation.  This was a ceremony that was adapted from our ancient African roots that honored the ancestors who came before us and those who had transitioned to another state of life, as well as honoring and acknowledging the elements and energy that make up all that is.  This ceremony was a reminder that we are all connected by divine spirit, that we are enriched and supported by our connection to all that is and ever was.  We call out names in this ceremony; names of heroes and sheroes who represent the spirit that we admire, respect, and consciously call forth to learn from and even emulate in the type of individual manifestation of spirit that we choose to be.  We call out names of our loved ones, friends and family and members of the world who have transitioned from this life in remembrance and acknowledgement that they may be gone physically, but forever exist.  I like to remind myself of one of the Laws of Thermodynamics.  This law says that: Matter is neither created nor destroyed, it only changes state.  The energy that we are, will always be and always has been, we only manifest it physically for a time or for many times, but our energy and essence always is.

I am grateful for this time of reflection and reminder and preparation.  I am grateful that there are ways and tools available to assist me to see things as they really are and not allow fear to cheat me out of a living experience of how great we truly are and can be.  I am grateful for that inner-knowing that we all have access to that guides and affirms and corrects and adjusts.  Today as in every day, I consciously choose.

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