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Devaki Sokaris

Live the life your soul wants

5.Grief and death

Grief is many things: death, illness, hardship, loss of career, relationships and possessions. Grief is a part of our lives but when it happens, we react in disbelief, experiencing shock.

Even when a loved one is extremely ill, one’s possessions become fragile, or a relationship is very rocky. We are never really prepared for it even when we think we are, like in the case when someone is extremely ill and expected to die.

For some it shakes them to the core, and they never really recover from it. For others it is a work in progress with many layers to unpack.

Death creates suffering no one else can heal. We may accept death as part of life, but it is another to deal with the suffering death brings about for one. It can also reopen those old wounds from past grief one was in denial of, thus they had pushed them down to numb the pain.

Detachment is the path to non-attachment thus no suffering. Some say they are detached when they have pushed emotions down so to not deal with their difficulties. This is not what detachment is, but rather denial of the emotions and suffering that are challenging one.

True detachment connects us more deeply with life and allows one to live with more clarity. It is what is meant by just being, thus you live life consciously being mindful of your thoughts, feelings, and actions, but you observe life far beyond the limitations of the mind and emotions. That is non-attachment.

Even when one is spiritual and believes in reincarnation, thus the soul lives on in another embodiment, it is not a comfort to many as they struggle with the loss in the physical realm.

Death is one of the hardest forms of grief, because one knows they will not see that person again. It brings up a broad sense of emotions in people that take time to integrate. While it is confusing, it best to find acceptance in those emotions rather than trying to navigate them all before ready.

Experiencing death is one of life’s major transitions. The irony of experiencing it, we are also being given a gift, as we go through our own transformation and understanding of who we are. It is like a cleansing that awakens the heart and has the potential to bring us closer to our souls.

A platitude is a meaningless offering people use when they do not know what else to say. It can and does make a person feel unheard or even worse. Platitudes anger people on the receiving end of them but many do not notice the effect they have on others when they use them.

Platitudes keep people in a state of grief, anger, fear, sadness, and guilt. We need to stop saying ‘sorry for your loss’. Saying you are sorry for someone’s loss or suffering is a bit like saying, I hope you have a nice day.

If people were more observant, they would see how this irritates people who are grieving. Most of these cliché responses have been programmed into people by society. Platitudes do not establish any trust or demonstrate empathy to a person in need. They are probably the worst thing you can use when someone is grieving any kind of loss.

Compassion eases people’s suffering and does not offer empty statements. There is not a lot you can say that will make grieving people better, so it is good to be comfortable with that and just be there for them and listen. One of the main problems with platitudes being used is the person does not know what to say so feels they must respond with something. If in doubt silence is best and a hug can be all that is needed to acknowledge their pain.

Compassionate listening is effective and all about letting them speak about what they are experiencing which can ease some of their suffering. It is not our job to fix people so a person who expresses their issue is not expecting you to fix it either as they just want someone to listen. If they want to talk about it, they will.

Grief changes people in many ways they may not expect, and they may not recognize until they have lived through it. Each person’s journey through grief is different and what comes from it is not understood until one has been through it. Grief is part of life and we will experience it in some way or form as we live our lives.

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