The Raphael Remedy

Journey Of The Living Through Grief

by | Nov 1, 2017 | Counseling

Death is an unavoidable and painful experience for the living.  When someone dies the living have their own death experience.  Regardless of how our loved ones die, we find it perhaps easier to comprehend their journey than our own by accepting that the loving mercy of our Heavenly Father has taken charge of our loved one.  Even when many of us do not fully understand the process of meeting God, we still accept what our Church teaches about the afterlife.

It is a struggle to comprehend our own journey from here going forward towards unchartered territory. Accepting that God’s mercy is upon us as well as our deceased loved one is a slower process because we feel so much pain, confusion, uncertainty. Our daily lives change. It was hard enough to know what to expect next and trust in handling “come what may” when we had our loved one with us. But, now? Where do we go? How do we get there? Can we go anywhere; and do whatever we want? We can have peace about our now deceased loved one’s path, but peace for ourselves can seem to be elusive in this new and different chapter of our lives.

Yet, even though we know that our loved one is in the hands of God, our human senses of touch, smell, taste, hearing, seeing; all of these hold us to the place and time of the death of our loved one. Even when we want to move beyond the pain we seem to have no control over its grasp on us. We want them so much. We do not want to lose memory of how they look, feel, sound, and smell. Like it or not our pain seems to hold us close to the circumstances of their death or it seems to impede our daily functioning.

Our thoughts may become obsessed with the time of the death. We stand at the graveside or in the sanctuary of the funeral mentally and emotionally staying close to the last place we had our loved one. Recounting joyful memories of our lost loved one may become entangled with the heartache of the death experience as it weighs heavily upon our soul. It seems the whole world keeps moving, except us. Our world has come to an abrupt stop and we sometimes worry that if we move forward that we are leaving behind our loved one.  Many may find that the thought of doing so is unimaginable and so much more painful than the heartache already being experienced.

Feeling pain, even very intense pain, is a normal and healthy part of grief. In fact, it is unhealthy to not be honest with our feelings of pain and deep sorrow. Some of the pain will never be completely overcome; our role is different, someone is missing. That won’t change. The journey after a loved one dies is about figuring out what our new path will be. Counseling with a Catholic therapist or joining a bereavement support group is a great source of comfort and help to navigate through it.

From the moment of conception, we are body and soul.  Yet, throughout life we get so much more attached to our bodies. The death experience of a loved one offers us the opportunity to grow spiritually as the journey of grief takes us from a relationship with the body to a relationship with the soul. Our spirit strengthened now by raising our eyes, our prayers, our love, toward God asking Him to help us along on this journey. Our Lord will help us to remember that our loved one’s soul is with Him, loving us, beckoning us onward.  He will also help us increase our understanding of our own soul’s equal reality and dignity to our body.  We will grow closer to God and thus closer to our loved one who has passed on toward heaven, as we continue to draw our attention to Jesus Christ.

It is the Grace of God that will bring healing and renewal in our journey through the grief and learn to continue moving forward into a new and different life than we had before.

Bernice Simmons, LPC, CCTP
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