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Helping the bereaved to heal their emotions

Allow the bereaved to talk to the deceased as often as possible, even if it is anger and bewilderment as to why he has left so suddenly.

india Updated: Mar 25, 2004 16:52 IST

In Indian culture, whenever a person passes on into the next world, it is customary for all relatives and friends to take charge of all the bereaved person's household duties, for a while, until that person can get over his grief, and rebuild his life. The dead person's family is helped to such an extent, that the bereaved are not allowed to feel bereft.

The sad part is that the friends and family expect the bereaved to become normal within a brief time. The understanding of the process that goes on in the heart and mind is not seen, because the feeling that he will not come back to normal once the grieving period is over cannot be easily overcome. It may take as long as a few years for total acceptance of the loss of loved ones, and the sympathizers are duty bound to help them, slowly and surely in the normalization process.

The best way is to tell the bereaved person repeatedly that grief is to be focused upon, just like a wound, and persistently medicated upon with love and honesty. He must face his feelings openly, release, by expressing them over and over, for when it is expressed it becomes a feeling that has been taken away and dissolved.

However, once the dissolution becomes complete, then the vacuum in his life needs to be filled with acceptance of the cyclical nature of life, that is death follows birth, as well as the knowingness of the eternity of the soul who has passed on. This helps the bereaved immeasurably to face the acceptance of the death, an important step in the healing of grief.

Allow the bereaved to talk to the deceased as often as possible, even if it is anger and bewilderment as to why he has left so suddenly. This takes him closer to the energy of the deceased, and oftentimes brings its own answers felt in the heart and soul.

This also helps to see sanity in the midst of chaos and turmoil, which very often surface as guilt, which he feels on looking back at his life, and the mistakes made in the relationship, however crazy it may sound. The bereaved must be made to understand that all these actions were karmic on both their parts, and were an absolutely necessary part of cleansing out their karmic liabilities to each other, as there was no other way but that particular relationship which could do so.

Slowly the feelings of anger and guilt will diminish, but remember to fill up the vacuum created by the dissolution of these intense emotions to be filled up over and over with the thoughts of coming closer to God and His Eternal Bliss!

Next week I shall explain how the Tibetans use grief to overcome the limitations, and distance between the griever and the Divine, which is, according to them, the true purpose of suffering the angst of the death of a loved one.

To be continued...

First Published: Mar 25, 2004 16:52 IST