In the last few days I have received news about people I have known, even only briefly in life, passing away. I have reflected on the emotions that have come up for me around grief.
Of course the first natural human response to death is sadness. Sadness that you won't meet again in this lifetime, in this form. I work with spirits, I know there is more beyond this plane. But this sadness washes over me. Also a feeling of surprise like I'm so busy living life I nearly forget it won't last forever. This is grief. Grief is sadness of a loss of anything, not just people. There is an innate knowing that this loss has meaning and there is a need to process this in the human form. Once I start processing these emotions naturally, then the memories come. I see their face in my minds eye and i remember how we met. I remember how their energy felt. I remember our interactions and how I felt. How our energy interacted with each other.
I like to share these memories with others. The response here sometimes interrupts this grieving process for me. People often feel the need to remind us that the souls experience is not over. But we all know this, and this knowing needs to come from ourselves, because this is the natural process.
Psychologists state there are 5 stages of grief. But for people on the spiritual path these stages feel different.
The first stage is usually denial and isolation. But for me it is surprise and solitude. I feel the need to go inwards and feel that initial shock of the news. This stage passes quickly for me as i move into the next stage.
Typically, this is anger, but for me it is love. I feel genuine love for the person I knew. I remember them and the time we spent together. I remember the words they said to me and the feelings those words triggered.
The next stage is bargaining. And in a way, I still do this. I do wonder how they passed. I wonder if this could have changed in some way. If the passing was through suicide, there is a part of me that takes responsibility, wishing I could have been in their life more to try and change their mind. Or if I could have done something differently to make the connection more meaningful. Did I try enough in this life with them? How did they pass? Could this passing been avoided in anyway?
The next stage is depression but for me it is sadness and also overwhelm of emotions. I always cry. I reflect on these tears and wonder if I'm feeling the "right" emotion. Did I know them enough to be sad enough to cry? Do i have the right to cry or feel this sadness?
When I think about crying, I feel it generally comes from overwhelm, an overwhelm of emotions. And crying is the release. So I think it is always OK to cry.
I generally reach out to others at this stage and share these feelings and memories, hoping to get permission to feel the way I do.
The last stage is acceptance or for me it is celebration. I know from working with spirits that they are happy and complete. But the spirits know these humanly emotions of grief better than anyone. They are the ones that have lost their life.
When you pass over, everything from your human life form is processed and you gain a deeper understanding of the true meaning of life.
And this is where it goes a little bit wrong...
We cannot bypass these natural emotions. They are difficult for so many people. Especially when you are working so hard to keep your vibe high right?! You don't want to get bogged down with heavy emotions. But it's part of the process. So when someone reaches out to you in any of these stages of grief, let them process it. Let them be the one to tell you that they know their loved ones are happy now. Let them come to the realization that sometimes there may be more for them to do on "the other side". Just sit with them in their grief. Share your grief. We don't need to rush into the spiritual celebrations of the soul. The soul will always be fine. But the human self is important. What they did in life and the impact on your life IS important.
We as spiritual beings are missing out on our human experience. We need to celebrate the LIFE not the spirit.
The soul is eternal. But the LIFE has meaning and purpose. Don't forget that.
The problem is we don't know how to respond to people when we are in one stage and they are in another.
Keep this is mind; when someone reaches out to you and tells you something sad, or expresses their sadness, don't over think it.
You don't need to send a super long message full of spiritual insight. You can just say "I get it, I hear you." "I feel your sadness". "I feel your grief". This person may have reached out to you because they want to know if you think it's OK for them to feel the way they do. So give them that permission. You can say "it's OK to feel the way you do and I'm hear for you".
They may reached out to share those memories if you're the only person in their life that may have shared those same memories too. In that case you could say I remember that too and I felt x,y, or z.
When someone has lost someone from suicide, you could respond with "I wish it were different too."
When someone loses a baby or a child, don't pretend you could even guess how they feel. Just be there for them. Tell them you are there for them and just let them share. And then when they naturally move to the next stage of acceptance and celebration, then you can share your insightful thoughts around the afterlife and any excitement or feelings around what is to come next for their loved ones in the next life.
Typical stages of grief
1. Denial and isolation
Spiritual stages of grief
1. Surprise and isolation
4. Sadness/ overwhelm of emotions
There is no time frame on each of these stages. Everyone's experience will be unique to them. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. These are naturally stages we process when we feel supported and loved.
If you are struggling with any of these stages, please reach out to your loved ones, or a professional that can hold space for you and guide you through this process.
And as always, you are welcome to reach out to me.