After Loss: We Are Our Own Evidence

Validation Comes From Within

If we need validation or proof of our own transformation after loss or other life altering events, we need look no further than ourselves.   We can only assess for ourselves the progress we have made on our journeys.  The validation from others regarding our progress is important but in reality it is a byproduct of the work we are doing from the inside out to change our perspectives after loss.  The work we do is an authentic representation of what we believe and where we are in our journey. We are a product of our beliefs, which we adopted because of the influence of, among others, our parents, teachers and peers. It is easy to judge someone else’s experience as invalid or not applying to us. It is a way for us to stay safe, to dare not risk venturing into unknown territory and to keep people of different beliefs and ideologies at bay.  Our refusal to witness perspectives that are different without judging them is not an innate skill but one, which I believe, is acquired through experience.

A Limited Worldview

Prior to my daughter Jeannine’s death in 2003, I tended to be closed off to the possibilities of life after death, reincarnation and continued bonds with our loved ones. My deceased mother Sadie believed in all of the above. Despite her best efforts to open my eyes up to a different world, my eyes remained shut.  Even when her spirit appeared to me in the bedroom of my house, a month after she died, that event itself did not change my empirical view of the world.   I viewed her visitation as an isolated incident.   The impact of her visit did nothing to change my beliefs.

I loved my mother, but resented the fact that she didn’t marry again after my father left us, when I was five. I also was angry because of her need to overprotect me. But as I approach my sixtieth birthday, I realize that those resentments prevented me from opening myself up to my mother’s world, a world of endless, multidimensional possibilities. I now realize that the world was not a safe place for my mother after my father left, and she had to do what was necessary to make it safe for the both of us.  I know longer have resentments towards my mother, but only a deep and infinite love that transcends my physical world.  I am also thankful that resentment was present in my life, because it revealed to me what I needed to subsequently embrace, in order to open myself up to the possibilities of life and life after death.

Empowering Discoveries

I have also learned that the outward emotions or states of mind that drive our interactions with others may be an expression of more comprehensive patterns of behaviors and/or life themes that unconsciously prevent us from transforming our worldview.   If, for example, I constantly generalize a setback in one area of my life to all areas of my life, it may be because of a general lack of safety that I experience about the world a general lack of mistrust in others, or lack of faith that the universe will fulfill my needs. . My experience of rejection, in this case, is illusion posing as truth.   Embracing this discovery empowers me to change how I relate to the world and to myself. Feeling safe and secure in who I am and how I represent who I am to the world plays a significant role in how I see others.

I recently heard a line in an in an episode of Cold Case, which is as follows: “I am my own evidence.”   How we experience the world is unique to us. The interpretation of beliefs or events that shape that experience is unique to us.  We know better than anyone, the unique impact of our experience, and if we are open to the teachings revealed to us, our interactions with others become both enriched and nonjudgmental.

“Unless you learn to face your own shadows, you will continue to see them in others, because the world outside you is only a reflection of the world inside you.”

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David Roberts

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David J. Roberts, LMSW ,became a parent who experienced the death of a child, after his daughter Jeannine died of cancer on 3/1/03 at the age of 18. He is a retired addiction professional and is also an adjunct professor in the psychology department at Utica College, Utica, New York. Dave has presented workshops at national conferences of The Compassionate Friends and Bereaved Parents ,as well as local and regional venues. Dave was also the keynote speaker at both the 2011 and 2015 national gatherings of the Bereaved Parents of the USA. He is also a featured speaker,workshop presenter and coach for Aspire Place( Dave is a HuffPost contributor and has also written articles for several other grief and self-improvement publications. He has co-authored two books with Linda Findlay of Mourning Discoveries. One is on navigating grief during the holidays and the other is on pet loss. One of Dave's articles” My Daughter is Never Far Away" can also be found in Open to Hope: Inspirational Stories of Healing and Loss. Excerpts from Dave's article for The Open to Hope Foundation, called The Broken Places, were featured in the 2012 Paraclete Press DVD video, Grieving the Sudden Death of a Loved One. Dave has also appeared on Healing the Grieving Heart and the Advocacy Heals U radio shows , and the Open to Hope television show . Dave’s website: is devoted to providing support and resources for individuals experiencing loss.

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