(97) How Easy Can It Be

Lately it seems like I am meeting more and more Angels on Earth. Angels that show you… how simple it all can be… is granted to be… is. How beautiful the world is… how beautiful you, yourself, are… and… the people around you. How with a few words your world can tip… from rain to sunshine… from gloom to joy… from in and in grief to moments where you can forget that grief. How with simple insights… veils are removed one by one… making everything crystal clear… lighter… serene… happier… and you can in and in enjoy life again.

Those moments I consider the diamonds in my life.

My sincerest thanks to all the Angels around me… I love you!

(95) A Chance Encounter

When you pay close attention to the world around you… then you regularly come across special things to enjoy… then you meet people with whom you have special conversations. The more you are aware of this… the more beautiful life becomes… the happier you become… despite that great loss, or the dear one(s) you have lost.

We met somewhere by chance at an airport, waiting until we were called to board the plane that would take us to our destination. She went to Italy… a week to a painting course in Florence and then a week to Venice and Rome. I was on my way home.

The encounter had something magical. We both had the feeling that we knew each other for a very long time. But, that just wasn’t possible. She had grown up somewhere in Central America, and I somewhere in North-West Europe. During the conversation we found out that she had lost her husband and her son… and… I had lost my daughter and my wife. She had another daughter and I had another son. It seemed as if we were two halves of a whole. We recognized each other’s grief with which we struggled… we understood each other completely. Perhaps that’s why we felt we had known each other for a very long time.

Our conversation took less than an hour, but it felt so much longer. It seemed like we had to meet each other… we had to meet each other to make us aware that although you have a lot of grief because of your loss… that you’re not the only one.

When she walked to the plane that would bring her to Italy it seemed… as if she was dancing… as if she was relieved… as if she had become aware that she was not the only one who had lost precious mates. With me it seemed like a veil was being pulled away… making everything a bit brighter… happier… lighter.

It was just a short encounter, by happenstance. But still… by the peace and the joy it gave… afterwards… both to her and to me… you would (almost) think that this encounter was set up by a higher power. And just those little moments… those little moments that can stand in stark contrast to the life of all day… those little moments are for me the moments that make it worthwhile to take everything out of life what’s in for me.

When you pay close attention to the world around you… then you regularly come across special things to enjoy… then you meet people with whom you have special conversations. The more you are aware of this… the more beautiful life becomes… the happier you become… despite that great loss, or the dear one(s) you have lost.

(94) It’s Time to Change Course

What I have learned in the recent years while writing these blogs for the Mourn & Grief Foundation is … that at the beginning of my journey on the path of mourning I absolutely could not see and could not realize what it would take and what I would experience… a journey with moments in which I no longer knew what I should to do in order to get back on track in my life… moments in which I would rather prefer to die and to go Home, to be able to see my great love again and to hold her in my arms again… and yet … and yet, during those same moments there was always something that, or someone who motivated or, stimulated me in some way to go on… and moments when I really could not go any further in my life and everything seemed against me, my guardian angels made me feel that if I asked them for help, I would receive help in some way.

In retrospect, when I looked back during those years so now and then, I was always amazed what I had achieved in the meantime. I never noticed that during the day-to-day affairs. However, when looking back over a period of several months I could clearly see this. It provided me also with the extra strength to continue my life’s path.

In retrospect, I should’ve asked for help with processing my grief sooner than later. Apparently, it must have been the case not to do so, because the path of life on which I find myself now feels very good to me. It is what it is!

It’s time to change course because the processing of grief means to go on in life. Usually going on means to go on in a different way than you used to do so before. To go on with those things that are important to you in your life. Despite that huge loss. Despite that raw pain. To go on with your life… you must!

Realize that the closer you were to the dear one you’ve lost and, realize that the more you have loved her or him, the rawer and the deeper your grief of the loss will be. On the one hand that hurts you a lot and the other hand it is a huge compliment to the dear one you’ve lost and… it also is an indication how deep the love to each other was… or… still is.

But by going on, on your life’s path you also set your first steps in processing your grief. By going on you also begin to look ahead again, although you may or may not realize your destination yet. Hence, yes, it’s time to change course.

Yes, for me too it’s time to change course. Somehow, I feel I’ve fulfilled my daughter’s last wish I promised to carry out. Lately, it became more like a personal need to do this kind of work

As for the Foundation’s website it is also time to change course. A plan is being developed to add a discussion forum to the website for you to use later this year. It is obvious that the forum will be placed in a secure environment. I would like to receive any suggestion you have for the structure or content of the forum. You can contact me via this link.

(93) Awareness

Our life had to be the way it was!

After completing my previous blog [A Broken Heart] I was left with a vague feeling. A feeling I couldn’t really touch. That feeling was emphasized by my question at the end of that blog:

“What if we would have been able to process our grief, under guidance or supervision… would my soulmate then still be alive?”

It took a while until I got an answer to that question.

The sooner you are aware of your grief, the sooner you will be able to process it and… in my opinion, the less are the possible consequences. Whether you want to process your grief is a choice… that choice is entirely up to you.

It was only after the death of Anne Birgit, our daughter, that we realized we had to do something with the grief we had suppressed those 21 years our daughter lived. Suppressed… because we both constantly were in a survival mode.

Suppressing grief all those years became a second nature for us. It became a habit… yes… a habit! In the end, unprocessed grief will consume you from the inside. It starts with those undefinable ailments… ailments of which no one can find the cause… to even, as happened to me, two open-heart operations right behind each other… or even worse when my wife died of broken heart. These were signals from the body that something was off and that I needed to arrange my life differently… or even drastically. During the years that our daughter lived we weren’t aware that we needed to process our grief… and after her death we couldn’t… or didn’t know how to… a missed opportunity.

But… how do you become aware of your grief?

You could listen to the family, friends and the people around you. But, you may not want their view at those times.

You could keep a journal in which you summarize every 3 or 6 months what you’ve experienced in the past period… how you’ve felt and how you’ve dealt with it. When you’ve done this several times you may discover a trend on how you feel at that moment in relation to the beginning of your grief or loss. If your loss at that moment feels just as intense as in the beginning… that may be an indication it is time to seek help… seek help on how you could deal with that loss.

At this moment I’m quite sure that if we had kept such a journal, every 3 or 6 months, right from the birth of Anne Birgit, we would’ve become aware at an early stage of our daughter’s life that we needed to process our grief (all the time) one way or the other with or without help or guidance. Our life would’ve been very differently indeed.

Our life had to be the way it was!

(91) A New Beginning

It all moves away… even grief… pleasant or unpleasant… it moves away. Once you realize that it all fades, that’s when it gives you new perspectives and opportunities.

Bereavement is an inner process that must be given all the space that it requires. Don’t be surprised that during that process emotions like sadness, pain, homesickness or loss can occur. But, also emotions like happiness, pleasure, joy or delight. It can all be there. It’s all part of it.

But what you certainly shouldn’t do is to wallow in your grief. Never mind when you feel unhappy because of your grief. It’s part of our life. When you think though, that you shouldn’t be never unhappy, then that thought alone can be the cause that you feel unhappy… and maybe even stay unhappy unnecessarily. When we’re happy we feel a sense of expansion, and when we’re miserable we experience a certain depth. Therefore, you experience happiness or sorrow in life. You should treat both as equal because happiness brings expansion and sorrow brings depth… and both make us stronger.

It all moves away… even grief… pleasant or unpleasant… it moves away. Once you realize that it all fades, that’s when it gives you new perspectives and opportunities.

In a nutshell, bereavement leads to change. In my former professional life, I was used to prepare for change … and if you do that … you can somehow deal with that change … a change that you initially (in your wildest dreams) did not expect.

Can you prepare for a change like this? Yes, you can, that is if you see that death is coming… and yes, if you are both willing to talk about this. But many of us don’t see that death is coming… let alone if they can see that … are they willing to talk about this. Most of us can’t and are surprised by the news that a loved one deceased. And then, when the first shocks begin to ebb away a little and you become more and more aware of the loss, then in my opinion the grieving process begins… the process of processing your grief. Only then the change will begin.

How the process of that change proceeds is different for each of us. What I have learned and experienced is that the rawer the grief is after a loss, the deeper the love was for the other. I have also learned by simultaneously embracing the great love to my dear one and the (raw) pain and grief of her death, I was able to create something … the lessons we’ve learned from each other.

Therefore, never forget those lessons and continue your path-of-life with head held high. Be proud that you’ve learned so much from your dear one… that you’ve been able to support each other so much and… that you’ve enjoyed each other on those parts of your path-of-life that you could walk together! Hence, prepare for what you could do if you give yourself the ability … and more importantly … challenge yourself to go on.

Continue and discover despite all your sorrow so that this could eventually become one of your greatest adventures so far.