Offer Them Your Joy: An 8-Step Proactive Approach to Grieving
by Cassendre Xavier
I recently experienced the first anniversary of my sweetheart Tom’s passing. His birthday was a month before that. His birthday was also a week from mine, and around the same time as Valentine’s Day, so it was a big and special holiday for us. I think because he knew his time was near (he had a serious heart condition when I met him and during our four years together it had grown progressively and rapidly worse), last year, we spent a lot of time together during the winter holidays. And, he was very playful, buying kids’ toys and playing with them, and trying to get me to play with them (electric remote control helicopter, cute little harmless bow and arrow, etc.).
Only in retrospect do I see that he was on his way Home.
Because the past couple of months reminded me of Tom so much, I had many opportunities to think of him. I grieved strongly for the first time in months.
Although when he first passed, and for several weeks after that, I did cry every day and really miss him, after a while I was much more at peace with the spiritual and intellectual realities of his being gone and in a much more pleasant state of being. I was not suffering nearly as much as before.
But for the entire months of February (our birthday month) and March (when he died last year), I was not where I was before in my grieving, but I was crying again.
Another reason it hadn’t been so hard in the middle of the year, that is, after the painful grieving, is because I really believed and understood that grief hinders the connection between the living and the spirits of the dead. I wanted to still be close to Tom, so I knew it would be to my advantage to feel better.
My spiritual studies all say that we ought to feel as high and joyful as possible. I know that’s what the angels want for us. I know the Bible says, “Let not your heart be troubled.” Even though I know it’s healthy to grieve and there’s a time and place for every emotion, each of which is perfectly valid and humyn, I also knew I could choose what emotions I chose to dwell on. Like I always say, You can yell “Ouch!” and feel the pain when you stub your toe, but you have the choice in how long you dwell on it and let it affect the rest of your day.
So, I’ve been allowing myself to feel sad and grieve when those emotions occur. But I don’t dwell in the sadness because I know it doesn’t help me spiritually and it doesn’t help the spirits of our loved ones passed.
Lastly, Tom was all about play. He worked very hard, but he also played very hard. He was really joyful and wanted things to go well. He would’ve definitely wanted me happy.
So, it helped me a lot in the first several months to stay joyful, having all of those reasons.
But, in February and March, the feelings of loss and regret were overwhelming and it became increasingly difficult to remain focused on the good of the fact that he’s out there flying and adventuring and being with his loved ones in spirit. I just wanted to cry when I thought of anything I may have done to limit our love in any way. It was a very difficult time. (It still is, as I’m writing this in March.)
Here is how I got through and am getting through this period of time.
In my May 2013 Wisdom Magazine article “Love Never Dies: Afterlife Communication with Deceased Loved Ones” I talk about the many ways we can still be in touch with the spirits of our loved ones, from thinking about to writing to them.
Here, I expound on that with my own experience of what has been bringing me comfort during this challenging time.
If you are grieving, I hope something in it helps you!
1) Remember, and remain focused on the idea that All Is Well.
Think of all the ways the persun is no longer burdened by being on the earth plane. Think of all the benefits the persun’s passing may have created for you. Think of how rich and full the persun’s life was. And when you can’t justify or find something positive, simply practice acceptance. We don’t need to like or even understand things in order to accept them, and we are richly rewarded with peace of mind when we do. When you accept that this persun is no longer in the physical with you as you knew them, you no longer have a lack of them. They filled your life when they were there, and now your life is just as full because they are where they need to be, and you are where you need to be. All is well.
2) Love truly never dies.
Energy doesn’t die or go away, it only moves. Spirit is a powerful energy that can’t be broken or killed. Therefore, it cannot be lost. Any real love between you and your dearly departed is still present in your heart and in your memories and indeed in the air and space around you. You can be comforted in the fact that their love is still with you, and will be with you always.
3) Your love is now unencumbered.
Our physical bodies hold pain and many imperfections that block love and make us less kind to one another. All the issues that may have created conflict between you and your departed loved one are now removed. You have only spirit to contend with and as you remain focused on love, all paths to this love are clear. You can now be in a loving relationship with this persun in ways that would have been much more difficult to attain when you were both living on this earth together. Take advantage of it.
4) Your loved one wants you be happy.
It’s okay to let the tears fall when they come. But, let them fall and start to tell yourself that it’s okay that they’re gone and that you want them to see you happy. Try to be happy for them. Don’t force anything. Allow your emotions to run the full gamut of the entire humyn process of grief. It’s all valid, and if it comes to you, allow it. But if you start telling yourself all is well and you begin noticing more neutral feelings, that’s alright, also. Imagine yourself as having passed on and looking at your loved ones left behind alive on earth. Would you want them sitting on the edge of their beds, sobbing? Or would you want them feeling loved, at peace, and grateful for the love you shared? Would you want them dwelling on sadness and only memories of the past? Or would you want them making progress in feeling better every day, dwelling on the joys and mysteries of life, and looking forward to the time when you’ll be together again, in spirit? I’m pretty sure we want our loved ones to be happy after we’ve passed (within reason and after a respectable amount of time!). Be the joy you’d want to see in your loved ones if you were the one who’d left your body behind.
5) Offer them comfort, joy, and light to visit.
Imagine how you liked to comfort your loved one in life, and try to offer that same love from your spirit and from your heart centers. Visualize doing the same specific things you used to, only do it in your imagination from your spirit to their spirit. Visualization and imagination are extremely powerful and effective in creating not only a spiritual reality but in affecting our emotions.
You don’t have to perfect in this exercise. Here’s what I did:
I remembered how much I loved to bring Tom his breakfast and coffee in the mornings. I thought about preparing his oatmeal with fruit or eggs and bacon and the large amount of half and half or whole milk he loved in his coffee. I thought about how much we both loved being at home together, being domestic. He loved being domestic together. I gave the domestic activities and warm, rosy feeling a look and a color: pink spirit. I imagined this pink spiritual light reaching up from my body to him. I remembered how much we both loved my rubbing his feet. He not only had gorgeous feet, but being 6’5” they were very perfectly sized for my large strong hands. And he was so dreamily responsive, from the smile on his face to his verbal sounds of appreciation as well as him actually telling me how great it felt, all was so pleasant for me. Nothing’s better when you’re trying to make someone feel good than to hear them telling you about it. And the footrubs were all made better once I allowed myself to get all Diva and set up my necessary comforts. We got it down to where I could be seated in a comfy chair and we were both angled so we could watch movies together as I did this. We were both so comfortable and enjoyed watching movies lengthened the foot rub. I highly recommend this set up! Anyway, where was I? Oh yeah, I remembered all the times and ways I offered and provided my Tom comfort and I created a visual image of doing that same thing spiritually. Do you know how hard it is to stay sad when you’re focused on giving someone else joy and comfort? Pretty darned difficult. So, it’s a wonderful exercise. I don’t know what memories you have of your loved one, but I’m sure they’re as unique and as pleasant or fun as mine were with Tom. Take time to remember them from the physical past, and bring them into the spiritual present. Once you do that, you’ll then have an image of your spiritual connection and love with that persun, and you can do that in mere seconds. You will be able to manage your feelings of sadness much better as time goes on.
Because I took the time to create a visual image of my spiritually giving Tom the same comfort I did before when he was alive and I could bring him breakfast and rub his feet, now I imagine doing those things spiritually.
When I was sad, I’d lie down and imagine making a spiritual bed of pink love (like cotton candy!) from my heart to the base of my belly, and that area was for him to lay his spirit on. Having these and similar visualizations makes it so easy for me when I’m sad. I just switch my focus from my suffering the loss of Tom to making him feel good, just spiritually. And immediately I feel better!
6) They are still there in physical form, in a way.
In the beautiful Sweet Honey in the Rock song “Breaths” they sing poet Birago Diop’s words: “Those who have died have never, never left
The dead are not under the earth.” The song goes on to say that the dead are in the trees, grass, rocks, leaves, woman, child, etc. It comforts me to know that Tom is not fully gone in the physical. He is in the air that touches my cheek, and in the bodies of water we both loved so much. This brings me much comfort, and it may help you to know that your loved one, too, still exists in some physical form with you today – perhaps you just need to go out in the rain or the snow to feel and play with them!
7) Don’t let your intellect get in the way of your therapy.
I don’t know if you’re like this, but I very much identify with Walt Whitman’s phrase, “I am large, I contain multitudes.” And I don’t just mean my girth of late (hint: exercise is a good idea when grieving, lest you allow Oreos, TV, and bed take over!), but the fact that I am a blinding mix of contradictions. Intellectually I’m agnostic or even atheist sometimes, yet spiritually I choose to believe in whatever will help me feel better and be more productive in life. As a result, I’m a spiritually eclectic New Age pagan mostly into angels, Law of Attraction, and A Course In Miracles.
All this means I get to spend a lot of energy talking my brain into playing along with my heart and my imagination when it comes to talking to the dead and getting through the grieving process.
If you’re trying to get through this difficult process yourself, I highly suggest you leave your brain in the university or wherever it lives, and focus on healing your heart, and allow whatever brings more love, joy, peace, and serenity into your heart and your life be the dominant force during this time. The Bible says it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich persun to enter the kingdom of God. I also think it’s that difficult for an intellectual to allow themselves the comfort of some ideas they may choose or be naturally drawn to sometimes. Yes, there are many ways that atheists comfort themselves. I’m just talking about angels and visualizing comforting the dead, for example. If these ideas seem like make believe to you, remember that’s okay. Even actual make believe creates miracles! Just allow yourself whatever it takes to feel better.
8) Remember that all is well. Because really in the end, it is.
Cassendre Xavier (aka Amethyste Rah, aka Amrita Waterfalls) is a legally ordained priestess of the creative and healing arts. An award-winning multi-media artist, she has CDs at CD Baby: http://cdbaby.com/all/cassendre , Downloads at iTunes: http://tinyurl.com/CXiTunes, guided meditations and other videos at YouTube: http://tinyurl.com/CXMeditations, and books at http://cxbooks.eventbrite.com. Links: Facebook: http://facebook.com/cassendrexavier,
Twitter: http://twitter.com/cassendrexavier. Official URL: http://cassendrexavier.com.