My wife died 10 days before I wrote these words. What I know I have lost is her physical body, and it makes me feel emptier than I have ever been. We were married for 63 years.
At the same time, I have the sense that she’s still with me. What do I mean by that? I mean that her humor, beauty, love and spirit are still beside me and will never be lost by me. As many wise authors note, love is immortal and makes all things immortal. The bridge between the land of the living and the land of the dead is love.
The most significant factor in how you handle the inevitable changes which life presents you with is related to the messages your parents hypnotized you with. Though, as a child, I did not appreciate what my parents were saying, the truth of their words showed me that change, though often unwanted, can be a gift.
Something Good Comes of Change
As my mother shared: God is redirecting you. Something good will come of this.
In the hospital, death is seen as a failure and a lost battle. So rarely do you hear the word “dead” used when a patient dies. They are lost, passed, gone and entering heaven.
Most people choose to lose their lives at night in the hospital so that the doctor won’t be there to interfere with their dying. One doctor wrote an article entitled, “Not on My Shift.” He realized that by being with a patient round the clock, they were keeping a man from dying on their shift in the ICU.
This doctor decided to let the man die. Death is not the enemy.
Death is an Ending and Beginning
I think of death as if it were a commencement. Why is it that a graduation is called a commencement and not a termination? Because that is the nature of life. Loss is change and change is a commencement.
One thing I would ask you to lose forever is the fear of change. It is inevitable.
Change does not have to be interpreted as loss. We all experience change; it is the nature of life.
Loss Produces Growth
Let me close with some thoughts that have helped me. One is that what we call loss can be defined as change and that change can bring something new into your life. The way a labor pain leads to the birth of a new life and loss can be the pain which stimulates and produces new growth in your life.
Once you open your mind to this concept, you will turn your curse into a blessing. I can accept that everything is impermanent, but loss can become a gain if you maintain a quiet mind and allow yourself to see the truth. As Jung said, “The future is unconsciously prepared long in advance and, therefore, can be guessed by clairvoyants.” And I know that is true from my work with patients’ dreams and drawings.
Lose Your Fear of Loss
One thing I would ask you to lose forever is the fear of loss. When you live in fear of loss, you do not live. Fear is a helpful feeling when you are threatened by a vicious animal. Then you run and climb and do things a calm person could not achieve motivated and empowered by the fear.
But when you fear what is not reality but just your mind’s problems you are more likely to lose your life due to the negative effects of constant, yet unreal fear of loss.
My dad told my mother, “I need to get out of here.” I told Mom he was talking about his body. So he had a day set aside for him to die and we let all our family know so they could come and be with him.
Read more on Open to Hope by Bernie Siegel: https://www.opentohope.com/we-dont-die-our-bodies-do/
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