By Cameron Kent
My Mother passed away in 2008 and the occasion was the source of great sadness for me. In fact, I would go so far as to say it was the greatest pain I've ever felt in my life (and I'm now 50).
Mum had been suffering from heart problems since 1998 and over the ten year period to her passing her health had steadily deteriorated. So, by the time she died, it was obvious that she was heading for the finishing point; but it didn't make it any easier to accept when it happened.
I'm convinced our Western Culture doesn't cope with death particularly well. There's a tendency to see it as a point in time - as in "the end" - whereas I now see it as part of an ongoing process.
Well, I went through a particularly tough grieving process and I now think the grieving process is a very necessary part of a death, especially if it's somebody you loved very much, because it's something one has to do when you love someone who has passed; and it's a way to honour the role they played in your life.
To be sure, the body has now died, and has gone, but the energy of the soul and their spirit are still there; and it's only really by grieving and allowing that process to run its course that we connect with the spirit and soul of the departed.
By honouring someone in this way we are connecting with the energy that was their life, and indeed our lives, and it's made me realise in my own case that my relationship with my Mother has not died, but is alive and well, and continues to grow and flourish in ways that offer the hope of a bright future (as in "renewal").
Here's what I did to get the process underway, and these suggestions may be of assistance to you:
- Write the family history or a history of their life (even if you're the only person who reads it. It will help sort your thinking and give you a clearer picture, as in a more "holistic" picture).
- Buy a digiframe and photo scanner and scan your photos onto a USB memory stick. It's a lovely way to display your photos on important dates like Birthdays and Anniversaries. And if you're technologically backward, like me, go into a Photo Shop and ask them to explain the technology to you. (Libraries sometimes also run courses on this technology).
- Complete your photo albums.
I'd also encourage you to talk because it's only by talking you will reach the point where you can work through the issues of this death. Your loved person may have passed away but they are not dead. They are only dead in one sense of the word. Their energy is alive and well, and will be with you all the days of your life. It's still possible to connect with that energy in ways that will give great hope.
I remember a piece of advice I got when my mother died, and it was this: 'You can never be ready for a death'. I wasn't ready for my Mother's death, although I thought I was, and three years later there is something I have come to understand. While my Mother has died she is still there, and my relationship with her is just as strong as ever.
Good luck with your respective journeys.