Although we all shall one day cross into the “great beyond”, it is one of the hardest things for us to deal with in life. Despite knowing the soul lives on, the pain of physical loss is difficult to bear. It is especially hard when they are young. People are supposed to live to be ripe old senior citizens. They are supposed to have a long, well-lived life and die peacefully in their sleep. In a perfect world, that’s how it would be. But we don’t live in a perfect world do we?
My recent, devastating loss was a nephew. He was 27 and it seemed to all who knew him that he had much to live for. He was healthy, he was doing all the things he loved to do…fish, hunt, work outdoors. He was a hard worker but he took time to play. He was a good person and loved by all who knew him. He wasn’t perfect, but then who is? There’s not a living soul on this earth who is perfect. When we reach perfection, we don’t come “here”. But I digress.
Not only was my nephew loved by his family, his friends and his associates but he left a great impression on all those he came into contact with, no matter how brief that contact might be. But (and why does there always have to be a “but”?) behind all those smiles and that big heart was a troubled young man. We knew, of course, that he wanted a family, a home of his own and all that went with it, but he had time to get those things. Or so we thought. We knew his financial responsibilities were great but that’s because he was trying so very hard to be successful. He was one of the hardest working people I have ever known.
Despite all he had going for him, his sadness was great. We didn’t know and for that we are troubled. For that we feel guilty. For that we find it hard to forgive ourselves. If only…if only…if only. Those are a constant with all of us. They beat us up as we try to find peace and torment us with the question of “Why?”
I tell myself all the things that should give me comfort…he is not truly GONE, he is TRANSFORMED, his BODY is dead, HE is not, we are sad and filled with grief, HE is finally happy and at peace. We MISS him and yet he is WITH us. But it still hurts.
Sad as I am, guilty as I feel for not showing him more love the last few times I saw him, it is the sadness of my family that digs at my heart. Parents and grandparents should not outlive their children. In the perfect order of things…that’s not how it should work out. But again and I have to repeat it…we do not live in a perfect world.
The question of “Why?” is constantly asked. The desire to understand a nagging, unfulfilled need. Yet I know…I KNOW, that if he was to suddenly appear and give us the answers…we would NOT find satisfaction and peace from it. There’s no good reason, not a single one, for losing someone you love in the manner that we lost my nephew. But (there it is again), for HIM it was enough. He chose to do what he did that terrible, lonely night. WE did not. The one thing he did do that I am most grateful for, is tell us in his final message that although he was not happy with certain aspects of his life, he was not disappointed or upset with his family and friends. Even so, we are sad that we were not enough. We are not to blame for this and yet we feel guilty anyway. Truth is, this terrible tragedy has no one to blame but the demons of negative thinking and the untreated affects of depression.
THINK about this for a moment. Our thoughts CAN be our worst enemy if we allow their abuse to beat us down. BUT (finally a good reason for one of those buggers!) they can also be our BEST champion, our most supportive cheerleader and a tireless, amazing motivator. My nephew’s thoughts took him down and led him into spirit. And now it is OUR thoughts that must lift us up and help us come to terms with it.
There are a few good things to come out of this terrible tragedy, aside from the major one of having our family come together. One, I am making more of a conscious effort to ensure I remember to tell all those I love that I love them. We forget sometimes when we’re caught up in life and I don’t want to forget that anymore. Second, I am motivated to be more aware of what is going on with those I love. Not in a snoopy, “I want to be all up in your business” sort of aware, but in a genuine “I really care about what is happening with you” sort of way. Third, I want to do better about keeping my spiritual connections a priority in my life. My beliefs have developed through the experiences of my soul and I don’t want all that experience going to waste!
Beliefs aside, grief is going to be part of our lives from time to time. Our capacity to love will make it impossible to avoid. We all must go through it in our own way and at our own pace. With love and support, from your self and from others, you’ll get there. We are, after all, spiritual beings living in a physical world and our spiritual connections will help heal the wounded heart.
Once the physical loss isn’t so overwhelming, the shock of it no longer holding us frozen in disbelief, we’ll figure out a way to let go of what can no longer be. We’ll adjust. We’ll go on until we are reunited. Just remember, though, that when you reunite with loved ones “over there” you have grieving loved ones dealing with their loss of you “over here”. It’s a pretty sad cycle isn’t it? Or a joyous one…depending on how you look at it.
In the days since my nephew has passed, there have been signs that he’s still among us. His best friend went to the spot where they last fished together and it had been raining all morning. After having a “talk” with his departed friend, he said “If you can hear me, make it stop raining.” Yes indeed…that rain stopped long enough for it to matter. Long enough to help a grieving friend heal just a little bit. In another instance, a song came on suddenly that was one of his favorites. A song he sang along with the last time they listened to it. And one of my favorite signs was when he gave someone the urge to stop and buy flowers for his brokenhearted grandmother. The florist, it turned out, knew my nephew well and was sad to learn of his passing. She put together the same bouquet she always made when he stopped to buy his grandmother flowers.
One of the things those “over there” often express when in communication with someone “over here” is the frustration they feel on getting messages through to us. They give signs in all the ways they can think of and sometimes we notice, sometimes we don’t and often we explain it away. We label it a COINCIDENCE. Well let me tell you something about coincidences…they are SPIRIT IN ACTION. God’s doing, all.
When we cross into spirit…we BECOME spirit and since it is spirit (God) that makes all things…we become part of ALL that IS. To those of us “here” that means our transformed loved ones can use the sun, the wind, the water, the animals, the flowers…everything and anything to show us their love! They can stop the rain or play a song on the radio, they can urge you to buy flowers or make a heart out of clouds. They can dance around in butterfly wings or use a dog’s nose to nuzzle you. When something happens that makes you think of someone you love who is “over there”…that’s your SIGN they are with you HERE!
I have to share that my grandparents often use billboard signs and license plates to show me they are near. Whenever I am thinking of them quite strongly, I’ll suddenly see their names on license plates or other signage. It fills me with joy for I know it’s them letting me know they are with me still. I KNOW it and I feel loved, connected, when it happens.
I’m sad that my nephew thought his best move was to pass into spirit but now it’s done and we can’t change it. Much as we’d like to. Much as we beat ourselves up in all the ways we could have stopped him…if only we’d known. The thing is…if my nephew had wanted to be stopped from crossing over, then he would have been stopped. What happened, happened because he willed it. And it is that right there that’s troubling us so very much…our feelings of guilt that we weren’t enough reason to live, that we didn’t do enough to help him realize that. It makes no sense why we take the actions of others and make them our responsibility but we do it quite often. Why is that? Unless you murder someone with your own hands, you are NOT responsible for the death of another. No matter what their reasons are. Our actions, reactions and responses are our own. WE are the sole proprietor of our body, our emotions and our thoughts. My nephew was in charge of his life that night he decided to end it. I pray that this has shown all who have been touched by this event to seek help if depression and bad thoughts plague them. If they do not and take drastic measures, the mental and emotional pain will transfer to every single person they love. It is not, I am sure, what my nephew intended to have happen.
I pray that those who are finding it hardest to deal with this tragedy find peace soon. I pray we all move on with our lives and get our joy back. As for my nephew, well he’ll be with us from here on out, sharing our joy and comforting us in times of sorrow. It’s what we do with those we love…whether we reside in the physical world or the spiritual realm.
I pray that peace be with you. For all who are suffering grief in some way…I pray you find comfort in knowing that now they are in spirit, they are CLOSER than ever. Even so, you will miss them. That you must live with. And LIVE you must do because if you are still here, there’s a darn good reason for it! Say your goodbye, grieve, then move on. Focus on love. Peace will come and so will joy.