Grief: Understanding, Honoring and Recovering
Most or all of us here have experienced that dark, despairing, crushing pain, and many still are. It can be constant, or come on unexpectedly when things are going relatively well. It can be triggered by just about anything that reminds of us our sweethearts. It can be very, very difficult to deal with in many different ways.
We might feel that grief is what is connecting us to our loves and so, consciously or not, we hold on to it. We may feel that our grief is one way to honor our love and show our loved one how much they mean to us. It may be difficult to allow ourselves to come out of grief because we feel it might signal our “moving on,” which is not what we desire. It’s very easy to get stuck in our grief because we just don’t have any clear path in front of us, and so we agree to simply live with it until we rejoin our partners.
We believe that, unless one has a view of grief that values the experience of it while also providing for the successful recovery from it, we may be subjecting ourselves to a miserable experience much longer than necessary - perhaps for the rest of our lives. We are not grief counselors or psychologists or therapists of any kind, but we can offer personal perspectives that have allowed us to both honor and recover from grief and move forward into a happy relationship with our crossed-over partners.
The standard views and “treatments” of grief are, in our experience and opinion, mostly only useful for those who want to “move on,” or for those who have little or no knowledge of the afterlife (or actively disbelieve), or are unaware of the possibility of maintaining and growing our relationships transdimensionally.
Often, people who believe in the afterlife insist that grief is caused by the lack of the physical presence of a person, both on physical (chemical) and psychological levels. They reason that grief is the result of not being able to see, touch or hear our loved one in the way we used to (with our ordinary physical senses) before they crossed over. They might insist that, until they can experience their loved one physically again, things will never be as good as before and/or that some degree of pain will always remain.
However, when we run through some similar situations, we can easily see that it can’t be the mere physical absence that is causing pernicious grief.
For example, earlier in our relationship my wife would spend an entire week away babysitting for our adult son and his wife. We couldn’t afford the long distance phone charges (yes, it was a thing back then) and so had no physical contact or any communication whatsoever during that time. Yet, that separation caused no grief.
Others have spouses and partners involved in military deployment that might include months of zero contact. Of course, in these situations, one might feel lonely or sad and miss his or her partner; he or she might even experience anxiety about the partner’s well being. But, it would be a stretch to put that experience in the same category as world-destroying grief. However, if they receive word that the loved one has crossed over, then that serious and profoundly different kind of grief will begin. The question then becomes, if grief is actually caused by the mere lack of physical presence, why did it only begin when word was received of their death?
It became apparent to us that there was something else going on entirely that accounted for this disparity in reactions to physical absence and why we were able to move past grief in a relatively short time. It also explains why even those who have ongoing communication with people on the other side experience profound and protracted grief when a cherished love one crosses over.
For example, Esther Hicks has for decades been channeling a non-physical group of teachers known as “Abraham” who strongly declare, “There is no death!” Yet, when Esther’s spouse, Jerry Hicks, made his transition in 2011, Abraham reported that Esther “cried for a year.”
Signs, synchronicities, visitation dreams and even fully interactive physical manifestations in this world do not appear to stem grief as one might think it would. Such experiences usually produce a short duartion of elation, but then are quickly overcome by continued doubt, fear and pain. This perpetuates the idea that it is a lack of (ongoing) physical presence that causes grief, but, upon closer examination, we can see that there must be something else at work.
Simply put, it is our view that, in addition to longing for the familiar physical presence of our loved ones, soul-crushing grief stems from deep, subconscious social conditioning that says that “dead” equals “gone.” No matter what people around us believe, or say they believe, as we are growing up, they act as if “dead” = “gone.”
When a dear one crosses over, they are inconsolably miserable; all the joy has been drained from their lives. Others (and often even the person grieving) act as if the crossed over person is gone: they no longer greet them, talk to them, or talk about them in the present tense. The person or people left behind are urged to “move on” and stop acting as if the crossed-over person still exists at all. Popular platitudes include: “You still have your memories.” “They’ll always be with us in our hearts.” “You’re still young, you can meet someone else.” “They wouldn’t want you to be sad.” “They would have wanted you to enjoy your life,” etc.
This social conditioning is pervasive and ongoing. It can be found everywhere: in books, movies and is rampant throughout mainstream grief counseling. For most people, even their families and friends act as if “it’s over” and the person is gone. Few will even countenance the idea that the “dead” still exist, much less are still actually with us. The notion that one could possibly successfully continue the relationship transdimensionally is an unfathomable one.
What we did, that just so happened to counter this deeply-embedded social conditioning, was to deliberately, vigorously and constantly over-write that conditioning with a new internal narrative, using daily, even constant, use of affirmation, imagination and visualization techniques. It’s not enough to just quiet oneself down with meditation and try to “receive” contact because, while that might over time help convince us, subconsciously, of their continued existence, presence and interaction, it is largely ineffective against what is usually decades of conditioning that is still ongoing.
This reconditioning of our subconscious and re-writing of our internal narrative, in our cases, generally followed the same methodology:
1. Talking and acting as if our loved one is still right here with us, at least while alone and to ourselves, vocally or mentally. If they usually had a cup of coffee in the morning, pour them a cup and put it in the same place. If you enjoyed watching TV together, watch a show and carry on your usual banter with them.
2. Affirming their presence, even during bouts of grief. Acknowledging that extended grief is based on the erroneous idea that dead = gone, and that simply is not true. Find words to repeat, over and over, such as, “I know you are right here with me. I can feel you. I can hear your thoughts, your voice, I can see you and feel you. I can feel your love.” or “I feel closer to you every day. I feel your love better every day.” Even if these things are not currently your experience, repeating these things trains your subconscious nonetheless because the subconscious doesn’t care if something is true or not; it reacts how it is conditioned. In addition, those kinds of affirmations can actually help manifest those hopes into actualities.
3. Imagining them with you as much as possible. In the chair next to you, in bed cuddled up with you, going with you to the store, helping you make decisions, making jokes, telling you how much they love you, telling you they are right there with you.
4. Visualizing the two of you together wherever and however you can in a way that makes you feel good. If memories cause too much pain, visualize them with you now or doing something new, here or in the afterlife. Whatever you would enjoy doing together, visualize it. Make it fun, happy and exciting.
The subconscious treats imagined and visualized information the same way it treats what we call “real world” experience; it does not distinguish between the two. If it has a regular, ongoing data flow via these methods that you are still experiencing your loved one, it will probably lessen or even eliminate the grief, and replace it with positive responses to stimuli that would previously trigger pain.
One point we wish to make clear: we are not advocating trying to avoid or push down grief. We consider the grief experience incredibly valuable and one of the reasons we came here. It may be caused by a false premise – that our loved one is “gone” – but it is a premise that generates one of the most profound contrast scenarios in existence. Grief lays bare just how much we love that person, what they mean to us, in a way nothing else can. It exponentially increases our love for our partners in ways not possible without it. Grief provides incredible emotional depth to our relationship that cannot be acquired any other way.
In our view, extended periods of grief are not “wrong.” There is no right or wrong way to grieve, nor any right or wrong duration for the grief to last. Everyone is on a unique, individual path. However, despite the benefits grief brings, and despite the popular notion that once someone crosses over an element of grief is a permanent aspect of our lives, there’s no reason to experience any of it any longer than necessary.
That said, we also believe that many people just do not understand and appreciate grief as a beneficial, temporary and transient state. Nor do they have the tools, understanding or societal support necessary to establish richly rewarding ongoing relationships with crossed-over loved ones.
In light of afterlife research that fully supports the notion that there is no death and that our relationships continue on, and in terms of other physical separation experiences, we believe our model of grief is more rational than many current models as it provides a more useful paradigm for understanding, honoring and recovering from the grief experience.