The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

realjannaweiss

The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

HELPING AFTER DEATH 315

Remember too, when despair menaces you that giving in to it

will only disturb the one who has died. Your sorrow may even

drag her back from the path she may be taking toward a good

rebirth. And if you are consumed by grief you will cripple yourself

from being able to help her. The steadier you are, the more positive

your state of mind, the more comfort you will give her, and the

more you will enable her to free herself.

When you are sad, have the courage to say to yourself: "Whatever

feelings I am experiencing, they will all pass: even if they

return, they cannot last" Just as long as you do not try to prolong

them, all your feelings of loss and grief will naturally begin to dissolve

and fall away.

In our world, however, where we do not know that it is

even possible to help the dead, and where we have not faced

the fact of death at all, such a serene and wise reflection cannot

be easy. A person who is going through bereavement for

the first time may simply be shattered by the array of disturbing

feelings, of intense sadness, anger, denial, withdrawal, and

guilt that they suddenly find are playing havoc inside them.

Helping those who have just gone through the loss of someone

close to them will call for all your patience and sensitivity.

You will need to spend time with them and to let them talk,

to listen silently without judgment as they recall their most

private memories, or go over again and again the details of the

death. Above all, you will need simply to be there with them

as they experience what is probably the fiercest sadness and

pain of their entire lives. Make sure you make yourself available

to them at all times, even when they don't seem to need

it. Carol, a widow, was interviewed for a video series on

death one year after her husband had died. "When you look

back on the last year," she was asked, "who would you say

had helped you the most?" She said: "The people who kept

calling and coming by, even though I said 'no.'"

People who are grieving go through a kind of death. Just

like a person who is actually dying, they need to know that

the disturbing emotions they are feeling are natural. They

need to know too that the process of mourning is a long and

often tortuous one, where grief returns again and again in

cycles. Their shock and numbness and disbelief will fade, and

will be replaced by a deep and at times desperate awareness

of the immensity of their loss, which itself will settle eventually

into a state of recovery and balance. Tell them this is a

pattern that will repeat itself over and over again, month after

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