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Some Thoughts on Dealing with the Death of a Loved One...

The death of a loved one is one of the greatest challenges we will face in life. It happens to all of us, sooner or later, and can be overwhelming. The loss might involve a spouse, child, grandchild, sibling, parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, cousin, nephew, niece, close friend, partner, pet or any beloved significant other. The loss can be unexpected and sudden, even tragic, or it can be something one has time to prepare for in advance of the fact.

The circumstances of and reactions to loss vary with each individual. Reactions can be emotional, such as deep sadness or depression, despondency or withdrawal, desperation or even suicidal thoughts.  Reactions can be physical, such as sleeplessness, loss of appetite, overeating, loss of concentration, loss or gain of weight. While some people may try to push grief away, it is usually inevitable. Losing a loved one hurts deeply to the core.

The passage of time can help one to recover, but there is no timeline for grief. For some, it seems to last a lifetime; for others the sadness fades with time, and the lasting memories bring comfort. The popular adage rings true that “you do not do grief…grief does you.”  There is no shame in grieving. It is a normal and natural process.  

Typically, there are three challenges that accompany the loss of a loved one:

  1. Coping with emotional pain including loneliness and sadness and the physical reactions described above;
  2. Worrying about how to fill the void of time and companionship left by the passing of a loved one, including feeling overwhelmed by duties or functions formerly handled by the departed love one; and
  3. Concern about what has become of the departed loved one—is there a heaven and does consciousness or the soul survive bodily death?

Eternea offers information and resources for those who may be grieving.

We hope these provide solace and comfort, perhaps even inspiration or a change in perspective.

An excellent source of comfort for those dealing with grief from the loss of a loved one is Spark Seekers, by Rabbi HaLevi and co-authored with Ellen Frankel, LCSW. Spark Seekers shares new perspectives on grief and loss, as well as valuable and practical insights spanning different religions and spiritual traditions, for anyone seeking to emerge from death's darkness into life's light with meaaning, purpose and inspiration.

For another good source of comfort when a loved one has died click here .

Additional readings on the eternal nature of the soul may be found here: recommended readings  or at our online book store.

Link to our Message Board for those who are grieving or can offer support to others: Grieving and support  

Click here  for one person's "Thoughts Surrounding the Loss of a Loved One".

How one will handle the emotional pain associated with grief is entirely an individual matter. Some prefer to remain private with their grief and are not comfortable talking with family, friends or professionals. However, as often, the process of grieving, after a time of introspection, may ease precisely by seeking support from groups in the community or from professional counseling.

For anyone who would like to invite the assistance of a trained counselor, almost every community and has licensed professionals experienced in grief counseling, and most health insurance covers some mental health treatment or support.

Additionally, hospice programs in nearly every community throughout the United Sates offers bereavement counseling and support groups.  To find the location of a hospice near you, contact the

         National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization
       800-658-8898 or www.nhpco.org

Several organizations offer specialized bereavement counseling or support such as:

For parents enduring the loss of a child:
       Compassionate Friends
       630-990-0010 or www.compassionatefriends.org

For children dealing with the loss of a parent:
        Judi’s House
        720-941-0331 or www.judishouse.org

Other organizations can be readily found through a basic internet search.

Most of those who have experienced loss recommend you seek and accept help from friends or family or support groups or professionals. Some can offer healthy coping mechanisms for dealing with death.  Others can offer hope that healing is possible. Let their presence and support surround you and uplift you, warming your heart and easing your burden.  Allowing others to be of assistance is also a way for them to participate in your grieving process and “pay forward” the help they may have received when dealing with their own loss.

The question of the afterlife

A frequent concern during the grieving process is the consideration of an afterlife. Surviving family and friends can feel anxiety brought about by the new void in their lives. Some may find comfort in their religious or spiritual beliefs, and others may question whether their departed loved one is actually in a better place.  Further, belief in an afterlife, by itself, is not a remedy for grief nor does it prevent grief from occurring. Even those with the firmest convictions about an afterlife can feel consumed by grief because their loved one no longer exists in “physical form.”

An overwhelming number of reports from people who have had near-death experiences, as reported on this and other websites, indicate that there is nothing to fear in relation to physical death, for death is not the end of one’s existence.  Many have reported that deceased family members and friends greeted them as they came close to crossing to the other side. Death marks the end of our physical body, but not the end of one’s non-physical existence, consciousness or soul. NDE reports also affirm that the aspect of one’s being which has consciousness, thought and feeling, does indeed appear to survive bodily death and continue to exist.  See Near-Death Experiences (NDEs)

These observations are not presented as “religious” conviction. Rather, they support an inferred conclusion reached by Eternea’s scientific team based on empirical findings from credible research by frontier science, focused on spiritually transformative experiences and the nature of consciousness, explained in detail elsewhere on this web site.

Studies of after-death communications, such as the comprehensive study undertaken by Bill and Judy Guggenheim, indicate that communication between departed loved ones and their surviving friends or family members is commonplace.  See After-Death Communications (ADCs)

Reports from hospice nurses and both professional and non-professional caregivers validate the connection and experiences a dying person can have with the other side prior to death.  When the caregivers can acknowledge and offer support and positive discussion about these experiences with the dying person, it can be a tremendous help to both individuals and their relationship at a time when they may be grieving in advance of death.  See Nearing Death Awareness Experiences (NDAs)

Finally, we understand from mediums’ communications on behalf of their clients with their departed loved ones that the veil between the so-called living and the so-called dead is very thin. Verifiable information conveyed by the departed loved one through the medium to the surviving loved one demonstrates that departed loved ones are very much aware of what is taking place in our lives in real time, even our innermost thoughts and feelings. Such communications can bring comfort and confirmation during grief. One case study by certified medium Laura Lynne Jackson illustrates the value felt by Eternea’s Co-Founder and CEO, John Audette, in January 2011. Click here for an account  of John’s session and reported benefits.

Cick here for a link to Laura Lynne Jackson latest book "The Light Between Us"   One source for locating a medium, one who has met certain objective criteria and has been tested, is: www.windbridge.org   Eternea does not endorse any particular medium and encourages you to seek references or your own inner guidance prior to engaging such services.

In Proof of Heaven, the account of his personal near-death experience, Dr. Eben Alexander shares some of the wisdom he brought back from the realm of pure consciousness—messages that can bring comfort to the grieving:

  • You are loved and cherished.
  • You have nothing to fear.
  • There is nothing you can do wrong.
  • We are each eternal beings and when we die a physical death we reunite with our higher soul which has always known the truth and purpose of our existence.
  • The single most important force in the Universe is unconditional Love.

In the face of this evidence from NDEs, ADCs, NDA, mediumistic communications and other experiences, one can be reassured that any perceived separation between us and our departed loved ones is a reflection of our limited perception and understanding, and this applies to our departed pets as well.  We are all eternal beings, joined together eternally through the everlasting bond of unconditional love. We will meet again. Ours is a spiritual dance through eternity.

Timeless perspectives

In his celebrated work Jonathan Livingston Seagull, author Richard Bach wrote about separation and saying good-bye to someone we dearly love. As Jonathan Livingston Seagull is preparing to leave his seagull flock in order to develop as an individual, without the limitations or restricted normative behavior imposed upon him by the flock, he offers timeless wisdom to his best friend Frederick Seagull, as he also ponders his angst over the separation that is about to take place.

          Take away time, and all you have is now.
          Take away space and all you have is here.
          Don’t you think somewhere between here and now,
          we will see each other once in a while?

Bach, in later writings, says there really is no such place as far away and no such thing as separation. When we view death and loss from this higher perspective, it does not take the pain of loss, but it is does help us understand what is meant in the Biblical passage, 1 Corinthians 15:55L 

          Oh, death, where is thy victory? Oh, death, where is thy sting?