Grieving as a Spiritual person: Is it what you expected?

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    Nanette Stein

    Losing a loved one, especially unexpectedly, suddenly, or not on their own terms can leave you with a lot of anger and confusion. Feeling bad about the way you are feeling on top of the overwhelming grief can be a catalyst for disaster. I do not feel learning to ‘let go’ is the answer. Learning to allow yourself to feel and be with your emotions is what heals you. There is no expiration date on your mourning. Time seemed to stop for me when I lost my mother, and then my husband lost his mother. Just a few days ago was the one year anniversary of my moms death and it doesn’t seem possible to have been that long ago; it seems as if it just happened. I hold my mothers memory close and I deal with the grief and regrets as they come, taking them for what they are. I let those emotions come, I embrace them when I can, feel them, and try not to judge them or myself, but allow it to be what it is. I still deal with my grief in the more “traditional” way: I still get overwhelmed with saddness. Even as a spiritual person who has strong beliefs in Universal love and the non-death of the Spirit, it doesn’t mean I don’t miss my mother so bad it hurts. I have a little bargaining left in me, too. I will think oftentimes, “what I wouldn’t give to have her back”. I find myself in everyday situations that I know she could be enjoying with me, like taking a nature/photography walk, or enjoying a sunny day at a winery along the water. And that makes me angry, very angry to have had her taken away from me. Sometimes I feel it is a contradiction of my beliefs, on one hand, knowing that she is without fear or saddness and is not missing the things of this Earth and that she is where she is ultimately meant to be, but still being overwhelmed by her loss and wanting her back with me, on the other.

    So, that is my question…how do you deal with your grief? Do you feel there is an expiration date? If you are a Spiritual or religious person, how does that affect your grieving process? I thought I knew how I would react to something like this until it happened to me. It certainly changes the story, doesn’t it?

    Jennifer Breniff

    When I lost my mother there was no time to grieve as my husband was also dying of cancer.  He passed only a short time after my mother’s passing.There was so much to do after my husband’s death because we owned our own business and I was left to fill those shoes on my own. In some ways I felt I needed to move forward to show my 4 adult children that I would be strong.  Strong for their Dad and strong for them.  I put my true feelings aside and felt their pain.   It wasn’t until 4 years had passed that the word “grief” even registered with me.  Up until then, it was just a word.  I honestly didn’t know what it meant or what grief felt like.  I had already cried from the bottom of my soul.  I wondered, is this grief?

    .  I remember only a few days after my husband’s funeral I was sitting at the graveside of my mother and husband.  A women passing by asked if the graves I was visiting were close to me.  I told her yes, one was my mother and one was my husband of 34 years.  Her response was: “Well honey, it doesn’t get any better… And your life will forever be changed.”   In that moment, I felt overwhelmed.  I judged this woman as being very negative.  But 6 years have gone by and I can now validate that losing another does change your life.  The part I don’t agree on is that the pain of loss doesn’t get any better.After I spent 12 weeks in a grieving group it helped me to “Complete my Pain”. I learned that two people can experience the same loss, such as a mother or both lose a husband, and their grief will be experienced completely different.  That is why when someone tells you they know how you feel it is not so comforting.  Your loss , your pain, is yours. It belongs to you and only you can complete it.

    Through a series of written assignments and sharing not only  experiences but positive and negative memories of my lifetime with my husband, I slowly completed my pain.   Grief  is more than just a word to me now.  It is more than crying from the bottom of my soul. It is validating and expressing the good, the bad, and any unspoken words between you and the person you have lost.    Death is a part of our life journey.  Each and every one  of us will eventually experience  death. For those  To lose a loved one? Yes, it hurts like no other pain but life does get better.  Today I feel very comforted by my brushes of sadness. Sometimes they are soft brushes and other times they hit like a title wave. It is in these moments that I feel my mothers love and I feel the closeness of my husband.  They will always be with me.  If that is grief then I don’t ever want it to leave me completely.

    Halina Goldstein

    I’m reading a lot of personal stories from widows these days… It’s my impression that most of them would say that there is no expiration date – yet the experience changes along the way.

    Losing a loved one is probably one of the most challenging and potentially life-changing experiences that we can have .  What we tend to forget is that it doesn’t happen in a void – it happens in a context. It builds on everything else we have experienced in our lives already – emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically. The grieving process is affected by it all and affects it all.

    So even if there are clearly some general patterns that we share as human being (and spiritual beings),  each journey is still unique, I believe…

    Many kind greetings –




    If I were not a spiritual or religious person, I don’t know how I would have survived the grief. By age 19, I had experienced more than my share of grief for my lifetime. This has prepared me for the inevitable future grief. I know what to expect. The unexpected. And to cherish your own life and those you love while we are still together on earth. Since I went through so much grieving so early. I feel that if life throws me a curveball, I can get through it just fine.

    Nanette Stein

    I must appologize for replying so late. It is enexcusable, but we go through things and just fall into a sort of ‘funk’ and find it hard to get out. I just don’t think I was ready to talk about much, though I started this forum discussion, and sor that I must appologize.

    I am sorry to hear about the loss of your mother and husband so close together. I really and truly can not imagine that. Your words are very well spoken and a tremendous comfort to me. It seems very benificial to go through a “Completing my Pain” exercize. I still am confused as to what I am feeling or if I’m “doing it right”. It is helpful to me that you clarified that everyone owns their own grief and experiences it in their own way. That nothing is wrong with how I am doing it.

    I have not really wanted to face the hard issues such as memories with my mom or any situations left undone, but I am slowly accepting that I should. It’s less painful to avoid feeling those feelings and pushing them away when they arise.

    I have been getting better about it, especially since I write about it and share it so openly. That is my therapy, I guess. It’s easier to write it out than to talk it out.

    I appreciate your reply here, it was very comforting to me.


    Nanette Stein

    Thank you for your insight. You are right . I doesn’t happen in a void. And I, too, believe the “process is affected by all and affects it all.” I appreciate you taking the time to respond to this topic and helping me with my own questions.

    Warmest regards,

    Nanette Stein

    Thank you for sharing with us here. I am sorry that you had to learn long time life lessons so young. But those experiences you have had, though agonizing as they may have been for you, have made you who you are today–someone who would share their feelings with total strangers to bring them some comfort from your loss. Your lesson to “cherish your own life and those you love while we are still together on earth” is invaluable. Something everyone can take a lesson from. I can clearly see that you will be able to get through any of lifes curveballs, just fine, just as you said. Thank you for your words.

    With much gratitude,


    When my best friend died of cancer at 45 years old, I was shocked. I had only seen her a few days before and had not realized those would be our last moments together. Lucille was more than a friend, she was like a sister to me. We spent a lot of time together and she came into my life when I first arrived in this country from England, at exactly the right time for me. She showed me who I was more than any other person I have ever known. Her love was unconditional and always there for me. Even though I was the one who helped her through chemo, radiation and a mastectomy, it was she helped me to know and love myself. We were on a spiritual journey together and I was amazed that at one time she was able to say “thank God for cancer” because it brought so much love and support into her life.
    When she actually died I was not angry. I was sad because we were so close and I missed her laugh, love and beauty in my life. The sadness did not last very long, because what I focused on was the years we had together. I only thought about all of the good and wonderful things about our friendship, how much we did, how much we shared and the fact that I know we will meet again.
    I feel blessed to have experienced her loving energy with me several times during meditation sessions and have felt her energy around me at other times. I am never sad when I think of her, even though I have tears running down my face, I focus on all the happiness and joy she brought into my life and how much I am grateful for the years of friendship we shared, which some people never, ever experience.
    I hope this helps.

    Halina Goldstein

    Thank you for sharing your story Marilyn!

    I am reading stories from those who experienced the loss of a loved one each day, and am learning so much from it.

    I believe that the ability to love yourself as much as you love your partner or child or friend is the very key to how we relate to loss and how we’re able to continue from there.

    Many warm greetings –


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