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

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

316 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGmonth, and that all their unbearable feelings and fears, ofbeing unable to function as a human being any more, are normal.Tell them that although it may take one year or two,their grief will definitely reach an end and be transformed intoacceptance.As Judy Tatelbaum says:Grief is a wound that needs attention in order to heal. To workthrough and complete grief means to face our feelings openly andhonestly, to express and release our feelings fully and to tolerateand accept our feelings for however long it takes for the wound toheal. We fear that once acknowledged grief will bowl us over. Thetruth is that grief experienced does dissolve. Grief unexpressed isgrief that lasts indefinitely. 7But so often, tragically, friends and family of the bereavedexpect them to be "back to normal" after a few months. Thisonly intensifies their bewilderment and isolation as their griefcontinues, and sometimes even deepens.In Tibet, as I've said, the whole community, friends and relatives,would take part during the forty-nine days after thedeath, and everyone was fully occupied in the activity of thespiritual help being given to the dead person, with all the hundredthings there were to do. The bereaved would grieve, andthey would cry a little, as is only natural, and then wheneveryone had left, the house would look empty. Yet in somany subtle, heartwarming ways, the bustle and support ofthose forty-nine days had helped them through a great part oftheir mourning.Facing loss alone in our society is very different. And all theusual feelings of grief are magnified intensely in the case of asudden death, or a suicide. It reinforces the sense that thebereaved are powerless in any way to help their loved onewho is gone. It is very important for survivors of suddendeath to go and see the body, otherwise it can be difficult torealize that death has actually happened. If possible, peopleshould sit quietly by the body, to say what they need to,express their love, and start to say goodbye.If this is not possible, bring out a photo of the person whohas just died and begin the process of saying goodbye, completingthe relationship, and letting go. Encourage those whohave suffered the sudden death of a loved one to do this, andit will help them to accept the new, searing reality of death.Tell them too of these ways I've been describing of helping a

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