When Grief takes Our Power Away
“Perhaps the deepest wounding in grief is our realization that we are not in control and we are not safe. We’ve spent a lifetime preparing for every possibility, protecting ourselves and our loved ones by buying safe cars, making sure we wear seat belts, stopping smoking, getting regular medical check-ups, submitting to vaccinations, living in secure neighborhoods, taking herbs and vitamins, and doing crossword puzzles to avoid Alzheimer’s. The list is exhausting. Lately even grocery stores provide hand sanitizer to kill germs on our shopping carts. Despite all of our precautions, warning systems, and protections put in place, this thing still got through.” — The Gifts of Grief: Finding Light in the Darkness of Loss by Therese Tappouni
Something about the wisdom in this paragraph has stayed with me.
It reinforces the truth that safety is an illusion, that control is a myth.
It reminds me and comforts me that I couldn’t have done a single thing to keep my mother from dying. I am not God. I am a human being, having a human experience. Cancer is part of that human experience. So to agonize over the If Only’s is a futile exercise.
If only I’d taken her for regular annual check-ups we might’ve caught it sooner.
If only I’d known how much stress she was under and had made more of an effort to help her relax.
If only I’d spent more time caring for my father, maybe she would’ve had less to do.
We do all we can to keep our loved ones safe, to stay safe ourselves. Everything from eating broccoli, drinking red wine and lifting weights three times a week, to installing alarms at home. We would like to believe that if we just did everything right, if we played by the rules, we can beat danger and stave off risk.
But I know now that everything that happens in our life happens on a soul level. The car accident, the cancer diagnosis, the suicide…it is all abut growth and expansion on a soul level. Much as you want to kick and scream and pound your fists that this can’t be true, spiritual law must prevail even in the world of humanity. Safety and growth simply don’t go together. All growth, as we know, happens outside our comfort zone.
You’ve heard this a zillion times. But I’ll say it once more. We’re spiritual beings having a human experience here. And the goal of every human experience is to move us to the next level.
Let go of the false belief that you could’ve done something to keep your loved one safe. Accept that you couldn’t have.
The most important lesson from this is that we need to be grateful for what we have right here. Not expend our energies warding off some imaginary future evil so we and our loved ones will be safe.
Leave me a comment if this post resonates with you.
Your post totally resonates with me! I read Dr. Brian Weiss’ latest book, Miracles Happen, a couple of weeks ago – he wrote, “I have learned that our loved ones live on, that they are simply on the other side, and that we will meet them again and again. When the fear of loss and death is removed, grief ceases to be so suffocating.”
Isn’t that so true? When you look at life from a soul level perspective, everything changes.
I absolutely love Brian Weiss’ books and have derived a great deal of peace and comfort from his teachings. It is true that we can experience peace only when we view life experiences from a soul perspective. Thank you for sharing, Christina!
No matter how much we try to prevent things such as illness, accidents, and other perceived bad things from happening, they still sometimes do happen, so I could relate to all the things mentioned in this excellent post. How we react to them and lessons learned from them help us in going on and deepening our spiritual experience.
We do need to be grateful for the people in our lives right now and enjoy each moment we have with them now instead of worrying about what might happen. And when things do happen, we should think about what is the best thing we can do in that situation.
In the past few weeks, I’ve had my last remaining uncle pass on, a friend who was the husband of a close friend, and someone who I didn’t know well personally but do know a few of his closest friends well. My heart has felt the loss and the sadness for my friends and family. I’ve been doing what I feel led to- checking in on my friend every day, sending a card to my aunt, making a donation in my uncle’s honor, emailing or messaging online with other family members, praying for all who the loved ones, etc. It is enough. We cannot bring them back. We can, however, remember them and the things they taught us and care for those who are still here.
Beautiful, Beth! You’re being an angel in so many others’ lives. Isn’t that all we can ever do? Our loss moves us to serve from a bigger, better stage. Bless you for heeding the call.
There is so much that opens up when we move into the present. After trauma and grief moved through me, and I finally stepped into the present, but not only that, I put my arms in the air and said to the universe, “I give up all my anxiety and worry, and trust everything will be taken care of.” I kept repeating the mantra and I’ve finally been able to relax more than I ever have before. It’s like my soul has been reborn.
It’s wonderful that you were able to let go, Pamela. That is where so many get stuck. And they’re unable to move forward. It’s all about soul rebirth!!
Oh my goodness. Thank you for this lovely important piece. You bring so much wisdom and comfort to everyone you touch.
Thanks, SK. Am so glad this post resonated with you. I deeply appreciate your kind words…
Hi Uma, wonderful work you are doing. I have seen many people die, my granny died in our home and her spirit lingered around there for many, many years watching over us, she herself has lost 4 babies and only my mother survived. I saw my first patient die (Trevor Eves) when I was an 18 y/o student nurse, he wasn’t supposed to die, he joked with me that morning as he headed off to the operating room “Carmel you’ll take care of me when I come back this evening” he came back but never woke from the anesthetic. That memory stayed with me a long time, I am letting it go now. I have seen many die since then, and have sat with many including an 11month old with the parents there beside me, I was 20 then, we didn’t talk, there was nothing to say. I remember the look n my fathers eye when he knew he was going to dye leaving behind my mother and seven children, 5 of them teens. I hope this doesn’t sound sad as it is not now, everything happens for a reason, I now trust this. I am not afraid of germs, I am not afraid in my home, I don’t barricade myself anywhere, I trust that the universe will take care of me. Death is part of life. I skyped my 81 y/o mother yesterday, she worries about nothing and is happy, she paints for hours and is having her first exhibit soon and turning her shed into an art studio. When her time comes I’ll be sad for a bit but I know she has had a happy life and is very happy now in this present moment and can make time stand still when she paints. I am sorry you lost your mom Uma, and her passing gave you a torch to carry. Great post.
Thanks, Carmel, for sharing some of your story with me. You have certainly been able to take the power back and enrich your life from your experiences. What a gift your mom is! I love her spirit! Yes, my mother’s passing has been a blessing in so many ways, for the pain has now been transformed into purpose 🙂 Thanks, again, for stopping by.
Uma, this is such a valuable piece. I don’t know of anyone who has suffered a serious loss who does not question themselves every now and again about how they could have prevented it. If not prevented it then, how could they have been a better daughter/son, friend, sibling …
It’s a soul thing. We do the best we can but we cannot manage each others paths.
Thank you for sharing.
Thanks, Ginny, for sharing your thoughts. You are so right about the residual guilt we feel about this issue. Am glad you enjoyed this post.
Lovely, supportive mission you have undertaken. I saw the intro of your new book to be released in June. Would love to pick it up.
I would like to share my story with you through email. Can I ?
Today being Memorial Day in the US, we’ve all been enjoying a holiday. Thanks for your good wishes and feedback. By all means, go ahead and email me. I’ll email you the link to my book as well.