Loss and grief
Tammy had a beautiful daughter, Brandy who was completing her second year of college. Tammy made all sorts of efforts to give Brandy the opportunity to go to college.
Brandy was a happy-go-lucky person. She had many friends due to her prompt smile, beauty and friendly attitude. Her future was bright. For Thanksgiving, Brandy traveled with her boyfriend, Fred to visit his relatives in Canada. They were driving at night through the mountains near a lake. It was freezing cold.
Another car driver hit the couple, and their car effortlessly slipped through the icy mountain into the frozen water. Brandy and Fred met their death there. No one knows what happened with the hit and run car.
When Tammy knew about this, she was devastated. Tammy was angry. She had so much anger towards that person who hit her daughter’s car, but she couldn’t make a picture in her mind of that person; so her anger went towards God, towards life and towards every hit and run driver who was caught.
Psychologists could describe Tammy’s experience as being “normal,” under the circumstances. As a matter of fact; there is a “5 stage mourning process” which is usually described as: 1. Denial and isolation, 2. Anger, 2. Bargaining, 4. Depression and 5. Acceptance.
Tammy started the process in anger and hopefully, she will be able to reach acceptance at one point in her life.
In spirituality, acceptance is the first and only step. Acceptance is something to be aware of and thus, practice every day at every moment.
I could share many beliefs as to why we need to accept things as they are; but a belief will not help if we face a life experience similar to Tammy’s.
Whether we believe in predestination or in bad luck or karma or in the “will of God,” all of those things will not change the most important item in this experience; that is how much this is affecting me.
Life is a gift. Acceptance of situations means to accept the gift. Any rejection means to reject life and thus, to slowly die.
The strength to accept a moment of grief is not gained after living a “normal” life of wanting and getting things “my way.” A life of “fight” to get things done. It is a slow process of acceptance, to let things be, to allow things to happen and to continue smiling for the gift of life is not something to possess, but something to enjoy and share.
The flower blossoms and then dies. Timing among flowers will be different. That is life. If I am appreciating that gift of life, there is no space for attachment to a particular flower. If I am attached, then there cannot be appreciation.
The butterfly is meant to fly. It comes and it goes. It has the freedom of life. If I close my hand to keep that butterfly with me; its freedom will not be acknowledged.
The 5 stages of loss and grief are nothing else but to learn to open that silly grip towards life, to learn to open our clenched fingers little by little: first is denial then anger, then depression, etc. until the open hand is seen and truly enjoyed. That is acceptance. The hand is now ready to feel and to let go. Ready to appreciate the gift of life.