The unique experience of a grieving process
We no longer live with death. Nor with those who have died. They are not part of our daily existence. We live now, and death is for later. There are fewer and fewer rituals, by which we stay attached to loved ones who have died. And so we no longer know how to deal with loss.
If we exist only with our body, our voice, eyes, hands, then we disappear when we die. Out of sight and out of mind.
Because when we exist in someone's thoughts, experience and memory, we remain alive.
And of course, when a loved one dies, the loss is sometimes unbearable. We can no longer hear the voice, no longer look each other in the eye, no longer touch each other.
Yet that is the very difficult challenge we are going to endure.
Besides, everyone grieves in a completely unique way that fits your inner world, which is as unique as your DNA. It is therefore perfectly normal that the way you bonded with someone is similar to how you may or may not be able to let go of the bond after death.
And yet there is one similarity between everyone in mourning.
For that, we need to go back to the origins of how we are connected.
Out of sight is not out of mind
Imagine a child playing on the beach. It is so absorbed in its play that it loses sight of its parents. Suddenly, it panics. It looks around and does not see the parents. Once found, it has to be taken care of, comforted. And then it goes back and - almost magically - it no longer feels alone. Like a camera swallows a photograph, we humans swallow. And store them in our inner world. So we can be alone, without feeling alone - the miracle of introjection. Animals are good at it too; I see it in my dogs.
When a loved one disappears completely from our lives due to death, the loss is unbearable. When all is well, however, the person does not disappear from our inner world. Out of sight is not out of mind
We die twice
It's like this. You die twice. The first time physically, you pass out of life and time. The second time, when nobody thinks of you anymore and you no longer feel. So too, as bereaved people, we keep the deceased in our lives.
Being alone without feeling alone
Ean number of years back, I spoke to a woman whose husband had died seven years earlier. She faithfully visited his grave three times a week. She sat on a bench, ate her bread and talked to her husband. There she met a woman whose husband had also died. A close friendship developed. They decided to go on holiday together. A few days before leaving, the woman panicked; she could not abandon her husband. Finally, the solution came. She took the picture that was on the grave with her, so she could eat her bread and talk to him. Just like before, on holidays when he was alive. There was one moment of distress, when she lost her husband in the middle of the night. The photograph was untraceable. She found it at the bottom of her suitcase, wrapped in the shirt he liked to wear. With finding the photo her husband, the world was right again.
The world is not right, when the people around you, after a few months, don't talk about the one who has died. And feel that you should slowly say goodbye and move on with your life. It is unnatural, because someone lives in you. That bond is only over when you pass away. If all goes well, no one wants you to die too. Then it is important to keep the deceased alive. In you and the world you live in. So that you can find out and experience, in your own way, in your time, how to go on with and without them.