by Robert Wilkinson
As long time members of this community know, today is the most sacred day of the year for me when I honor the death of one who was closer to me than my own breath. 21 years ago today my life shattered into a million pieces, forcing me to walk a walk no one should have to endure, but millions do with millions more added each year. Because of my willingness to embrace my quest for healing, I am a stronger, more compassionate man for the experience, and found in the journey that with time and effort we can heal the grief we feel from the death of a loved one.
Sooner or later, everyone experiences the death of someone close to them. And yet, in our modern world obsessed with consumerism, we have relatively few resources available showing us how to move through and with this Sacred event, in full awareness of our humanness AND our ability to be our Eternal Self embracing the greater Love we share with the departed. Mostly death and grief are regarded as things to be avoided, and definitely not discussed, since these are difficult things and no one likes to be brought down or bring others down.
However, because this is a universal experience of being an Eternal Consciousness having our human feelings and thoughts, it is imperative that we learn ways and means to heal our grief. Part of the process is learning to honor those "Sacred moments" when we can commune with our heart and the Higher Love that any death can bring forth, if we allow it.
There are many points in time when we can easily embrace the Sacred and commune with timeless feelings. In these moments, honoring the need for solitude is very important, since it allows us deeper contemplations away from the white noise of modern existence. However, at other times it is equally important to find others with whom we may share our story, so that we can be reminded of the universality of our experience.
In sharing my story over the years with many people in many circumstances, and listening to their story as well, I am in awe of the number of people who are in deep grief, whether they know it or not, regardless of how long ago their loss happened. The tenderness in the eyes of one who is bereaved is unmistakable, and offers us all a window to the timeless feelings of a mutually shared Soul experience. Recognizing the grief in others' eyes and hearts also helps us get beyond harsh judgments and assumptions, and leads us to a greater and deeper compassion for all who suffer.
Those of us who have lost a loved one never really "get over it." We learn to live with it, whether we embrace the healing journey, take refuge in a philosophical view, or simply endure a life that becomes very flat and gray. And yet, if we learn to heal into honoring the Sacred connection with our departed loved one(s) we can become much clearer, stronger, and deeper in our experience of life and our relationships.
Our world is drowning in grief that is not acknowledged or being healed. Those of us who know the profound feelings connected with the death of a loved one are more aware than most of the sorrow that pervades the atmosphere. Millions upon millions are in deep grief, which affects our entire world. Humanity's challenge is to find ways and times to honor those who have left this physical existence, as well as the techniques that can assist the bereaved to heal into a new life and purpose.
I believe that healing our grief is the most important step we can take in becoming our true Spiritual Self since in our healing journey we learn just how connected we are with all humanity through all time. This com-passion, or "fellow feeling," can end our sense of separateness and isolation forever, and give us opportunities to join with others who are bereaved so that we can be of mutual support through our shared communion.
That is the importance of honoring the Sacred moments that come after the death of a loved one. Timing is a major factor in learning to heal our grief, and it is in those Sacred moments that we do in fact heal out of suffering into a timeless honoring of the greater Love we shared, and still share, with our departed.
In past years on this day I've offered various themes from my book, "Love Dad - Healing the Grief of Losing A Child." For your consideration on this day of remembrance, from the Chapter "Whatever It Takes," a part of "Making the Sacred Real":
In the final analysis we must accept many things about life as unknowns. I used to believe that everything has its purpose, and that all events happen for a reason. Though there are reasons for a lot of things, there is also the mystery of life itself, which precludes reasoning, or reasons, or analysis. I now believe that sometimes events simply are as they are, and there is no purpose to them, except the purpose we bring to or derive from the experience.
I believe that the emotional, mental, and spiritual health of our modern society requires that we re-learn to value the mysterious and unmeasurable experiences in life as much as rationality and linear thinking. The truly sacred cannot be quantified. Appreciating the eternal mystery in our everyday lives brings us to the threshold of the sacred, and can open us to seeing the interconnections between the old and the new, the past and the future, in our life path to a higher truth.
It has been said there are really only two pivotal events in a human life: birth and death. These are basic facts of existence, and matter deeply to each of us in a primal way. Everything else in between is transitory. As we learn to honor birth and death, we learn to honor children, elders, and everyone in between, including ourselves and our higher potential.
Whether relatives or strangers, “enemies” or friends, not-yet-born or any age whatsoever, all deaths are the sacred passage of a Soul from this world and should be honored as such. We usually acknowledge and often honor those who live to an advanced age; we do not as often acknowledge those who die in pregnancy or infancy. The dead must be honored somehow, in a meaningful way. They are not honored by being ignored.
Every human interaction is a sacred ritual and we should attempt to honor it as such. This is especially true for every committed loving relationship, whether parent to child, parent to parent, or friend to friend. Every moment is sacred in how it reveals the potential to love. Inner and outer love. Love beyond conditions. Every moment calls us to our greatest good, which is love. Love can express itself in many ways, from actions to qualities of wisdom or intelligence. Your ability to allow love to express itself in its many forms is tested by any loss. It is the challenge to explore your pain and suffering to break the link between the two. Life can be painful, but we do not have to be attached to our suffering.
Our greatest challenge is to make our sense of the sacredness of each moment a living reality, to bring this sense of the Divine presence into our everyday lives and interactions. We are the inheritors of a sacred thread running through time, and are here ideally to leave the Earth a little better than we found it. If we can rise to this challenge, we can contribute to the future health of our world.
So today is my day of deep contemplation of what was and is. As I wrote to another who lost her son,
"So many people grieving, so many lost in pain, so many walking wounded, nevermore the same. But we do find that 'love is stronger than death,' and find our way back to life if only we walk the walk." May all of you reading these words be present in this Sacred moment and heal whatever you have to heal. My heartfelt blessings on your efforts. Aum.
If you want to explore more about the grieving and healing process, please visit my previous articles. Each one covers different elements and approaches to healing our grief. And of course, give yourself some space and time, since they will bring up some very deep feelings.
From 2008, For Those Who Grieve the Loss of A Child
Happy 21st Birthday, Blyth. You've changed my life and countless other lives forever. Thank you for making me a better man. Love, Dad.
© Copyright 2009 Robert Wilkinson