Responding to the Loss of a Loved One

Responding to the loss of a loved one feels like an alien language, one we never learned.

When we encounter loss, we feel like we’re in a foreign country. We don’t speak the language and don’t have a map.

Nobody taught us how to do grief.

We didn’t learn it from our parents.
We didn’t learn it in school.
We didn’t grow up with the vocabulary of loss.

So when loss comes knocking on our lives, we are well and truly lost.

We lose someone we love. A spouse walks out. A dream we cradled close to our hearts shatters.

We wander the wilderness of grief, wild-eyed with sorrow, confusion and despair.

Questions jostle and tumble inside our heads.

Why is grief so hard?
How can I make time for grief when I have little kids to care for?
Will I be able to communicate with my loved one?

Feverishly and furiously we search for answers. We look for certainty. We explore theories and philosophies.

But are there any definitive answers when we’re faced with the grand mystery of death?

In the course of my work serving the bereaved as a Grief Guide, my clients, workshop participants and audiences have asked me (and continue to ask) questions about grief, loss, death and dying.

I also know from personal experience that there are no answers. There is only exploration. When I lost my 68-year-old mother to cancer in 2009 (Losing Amma, Finding Home: A Memoir About Love, Loss and Life’s Detours), I became a seeker. Questions haunted me. They chased after me in my dreams and tormented me during my waking moments.

There’s no five-step formula in responding to the loss of a loved one. In the process of healing myself and companioning the bereaved and the dying, I’ve come to understand that we can only attempt to embrace peace when we seek to discover the truths about the journey of the soul. When we commit to understanding who we are, why we are here and how our soul’s divine purpose unfolds through our human experiences we find a deep-seated peace.

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