Grief is a normal process that you experience after you’ve lost someone. It is an intense feeling of sorrow that is necessary in order for you to accept the deep loss and carry on with your life.
There are recognized stages of grieving that most people go through, but in no way are these stages necessarily experienced by everyone, or in any certain order. The stages are not distinct and usually there is an overlapping between them.
Probably the first reaction to a loss is feeling emotionally numb. The numbness may last a few hours, a few days, or sometimes longer. Sometimes this feeling of numbness can be a blessing and help you get through the first few days, when you need to make practical arrangements and deal with family pressures that involve the funeral.
Another initial reaction can be deep yearning for the person who has transitioned, or perhaps you might feel agitated and angry. There may be feelings of guilt, or remembering arguments you had with the person, or things you now wish you had expressed before it was too late.
The initial period of strong emotions may give way to periods of intense sadness, or silence and withdrawal from your family and friends. It is during this time that you may experience sudden outbursts of weeping, easily triggered by little things that remind you of your loved one.
Pain, sadness and depression are common feelings for the newly bereaved person. This can include sleeplessness, or sleeping for very long periods of time. The need for seclusion and privacy may be more predominant.
It’s important to realize that over time all the pain, sadness and depression will start to ease off. You will begin to see your life once more in a positive light. This is a gradual process and may take many months, even years. During this time it is important to set aside time to acknowledge the loss and express your grieving.
I lost my husband and soul mate 13 months ago. After several months of crying easily -- it didn't take much to trigger a grief spell -- I came to the point where I felt the need to "make myself cry" in order to have a good grieving session.
When I felt the urge to have a good cry, I went off by myself with a packet of letters and cards that my loved one had left for me. The packet contained pictures of the two of us and some special messages he had written just for me. There was also the rich, flowery scent of his favorite incense inside the packet that would immediately evoke tears. I would go through each thing in that packet and just let myself cry.
The grieving process varies. It can take a very long time with some people. How long it takes depends on each individual and their situation. For most people it can take one to two years to recover from a major bereavement.
A support group I attended a few months following my husband’s passing included people who came every week and had been in that group for fifteen or more years. Some people have a hard time letting go, while others just seem to naturally move on as time passes.
The final phase of bereavement is letting go of the person who has passed, and carry on with your life, even if it may not be exactly the same as it was before. You will know you are entering this phase because your sleeping patterns and energy levels begin to stabilize.
Just because you’ve moved into the stage where you start to “let go” doesn’t necessarily mean you cared less than, say, the person who is still clinging and grieving after fifteen years.
From a metaphysical standpoint, letting go of your loved one is probably the kindest act you can perform after a period of grieving. Clinging to that person for the rest of your life is not something that is beneficial to you or to him or her. In fact, some believe it may hold that person’s spirit back from advancing.
Think about death the way you think about a person being born. A soul comes into a body and experiences the gift of three-dimensional life on Earth. Having just arrived from the spirit world, that soul now needs to adjust to a whole different environment. No longer free to move around like before, the new person is encased in this dense blob of flesh, and as an infant he or she must rely on others (the parents) to take care of every bodily need. Worse yet, all memories have been wiped clean so that the soul has no idea what happened.
When the time comes for the soul to leave the body — at what we term “death” — the soul is released from the body and free once again to soar in spirit. No longer encumbered by a body that may have possibly been decrepit or diseased, he or she has emerged from this dimension and all memories and knowledge are restored. From the perspective of spirit, the day of passing is more joyous than that day in which the soul entered its body, because now it is once again “Home” and free.
The joy of returning to spirit is, however, dampened by the cloud of grief left behind. Loved ones are in shock, or are sad and depressed, longing for the one they loved to be back among them. This tends to “ground” the soul to the earth plane, at least for a while, until the bereavement process begins to taper off.
I miss my beloved husband very much, and it has been over a year now since he took that great journey of the soul. As much as I would like to continue clinging to him and wanting him around me, day and night, I realize that he is in spirit now and he needs to get on with tasks in front of him just as I have earthly tasks to accomplish in the time I have left.
The time will come, I am most certain, when he and I will be reunited, and what a joyous occasion that will be for two twin flames! But until then... I must be okay with the fact that my bereavement is slowing down. It doesn’t mean I love him any less because I am grieving less. I will continue to have spells when tears come easily, and I will continue to pull out my “grieving packet” from time to time. But I know that he wants me to continue on with my life here on earth, and I want him to do the same, knowing he is always just a breath away when I think of him.
Bereavement is a life-long process, but it doesn’t have to stop you from moving on. It is something you will come back to time and again, and you’ll know when those times are. The important thing is to keep the love in your heart and realize that by letting go, you are giving a great gift to the one you love.