Dealing with the sudden death of a loved one
Our Beloved Family:
Less than a week ago on January 26th we learned of the death of former LA Lakers star, Kobe Bryant, along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven others in a helicopter crash only a couple of miles from Be Hive of Healing. Since that time, we’ve spoken to many grief-stricken people who are struggling to make sense of this sad and tragic situation.
The initial experience of loss is one of separation and vulnerability. Something or someone important to us has been taken away, and we feel the void or incompleteness within ourselves caused by its absence. It’s this abrupt disconnectedness that makes us feel a little less safe, a little less whole, and triggers our tears and grief.
Fortunately, we live in a universe based on balance, and it isn’t possible to be less than whole. Yes, there is death, but there is also life. There is winter that’s always followed by summer. We cannot lose something without something else moving in to take its place. Nature doesn’t tolerate a vacuum. In times of loss it’s important to remember that while something may have been taken away, life will always offer something else to fill the void.
Many times with the sudden death of a loved one we receive an opportunity to learn, to make our lives better even as we move on in spite of the pain. Quite often the lesson is to understand the transient quality of life and to learn to let go and live more freely or fully. Summer flowers understand their time is brief, so they blossom to the fullest of their beauty because they know the frost is coming. It’s not a matter of living longer but living better and not waiting until everything is “right” in order to give ourselves permission to do so. A star athlete who dies suddenly at 41 is truly tragic, but when he’s lived his life in joy, true to himself and fulfilling his purpose, then we can celebrate his life and honor the love he inspired in friends and fans alike.
We’re also reminded that we should take nothing for granted because none of us is guaranteed a tomorrow. Yes, we all know this but do we really live it? How many of us drive off for work in the morning with the unfounded assumption that we’ll return that evening? Do we tell our spouses or partners that we love them before walking out the door? Do we connect with them in loving ways throughout the day and year instead of waiting for special occasions? Do we take note of what others do for us and express our gratitude to them? Can housework wait because the kids want you to play ball in the backyard for an hour? We rush through our lives taking too much for granted because we always assume the opportunity will be there tomorrow.
Sudden loss is also call for us to get our house in order, especially with regard to mending personal relationships. Things left unsaid can never be spoken after death, and there is no grief deeper than one that is burdened with guilt and regret. A good way to start the process is to write out, “If I died today, I would regret…” and make a list of all the necessary things. You can also include the statement, “I should have said ___ to ___ because ___.” The things you’ve wanted to do but not done and the relationships that need healing or closure; that’s your better life To Do list. Get busy.
Lastly, hidden within loss is the gift of appreciation. Once the pain and tears have passed we don’t have to remain sad because something we love is over; we can be happy because it happened! We can allow ourselves to be uplifted by the gratitude we feel for being fortunate enough to have had such a loving mother, strong husband or generous grandfather or engaged in experiences that most people never get to have. Gratitude is the antidote to grief, and there is no greater way to honor those we’ve loved and lost than to acknowledge daily how they blessed our lives.
Love, Light, and Clarity in the Month Ahead,
Dr. Habib Sadeghi & Dr. Sherry Sami
Come and join us for a celebration of Love.