No son loved a mother and father as much as I did — and do, all these years after they left this world.
But I do not pang after their loss or grieve intensely — for several reasons.
Firstly, let me be clear: we all grieve the loss of a loved one, or a colleague, a friend, a pet, in our own way. And no one should callously dictate how another should behave, certainly when it comes to the demise of a dear one.
But there is a healthy way to grieve, and that way has nothing to do with endless daily tears, years after the soul we loved is no longer visible to us in this existence.
Certainly, too, losing a parent after they reached into their 80s or 90s, following a good long life, is much different than a parent who loses a child, or when any young person in our lives, be they a co-worker or a sibling or a close friend, leaves us.
The experience of death in our lives is different from case to case, individual to individual. But the reality is, those who have left us at any age, no matter our relationship to them, are gone. They are not here anymore. They are somewhere else, depending on our individual religious or spiritual beliefs. And we are still here. I personally believe that one someone dies in this world, they live again in Heaven or move on to some form of higher existence, which is how I when it comes to my parents.
Additionally, I feel that my parents, now in Heaven, would not want me to grieve; they would want me to live my life to the fullest; to utilize the lessons of Love that they taught me for the highest good of all concerned. “Honor Thy Mother and Father” is the Fifth of the Ten Commandments. And I believe that Number 5 means not only to respect our parents while they are alive but again, to live fully the life that God gave us through our mothers and fathers.
Living, fully in this world, to the best our ability, is the best and healthiest way to live. To love those in this world who are alive; to take what we’ve learned by the loss of those who are now gone and to apply that love to the living; to the ones who are still here.
That helps the souls of our loved ones now gone to soar in the Heavens. Our joy on Earth helps them in ways that we cannot comprehend, while any endless grief, following a respectable period of grief (one year at the most; possibly, two) does nothing to soothe their souls.
As an example, a few years back, I had a woman friend who lost her husband, after a long horrific battle with cancer. And years after he died, she still went to the cemetery and placed flowers on his grave. EVERY day she did this. In my opinion, this is not the healthiest way to grieve, particularly at the cost of this woman’s emotions and psychological well-being. Did she really believe that this is what her husband would have wanted for her? To grieve daily, on end, while he is living joyously in some other world beyond this one? Of course not.
Juxtaposed to that woman’s experience of loss, there was another woman-friend of mine who experienced a deep loss; this time, her young son, who died tragically in a car accident. This woman grieved a healthy time, and then she moved on with her life…because she had to…for her health and well-being. But not in any selfish way. Because whenever you would visit this woman at her home, you would walk into her living room, and you would see this beautiful original painting of her son, placed over the sofa. It was clear how much she loved him. But it was also clear to this woman that her love for her son had to somehow be filtered in a more productive way. And for her, that productive way was to live her life fully…and to not be bitter or overtly grievous.
The truth of the matter is this: death has been around for eons, and it will come to each of us. The process of losing and loss, while we are here, is a learning process. Every experience of life on this planet is a learning process. And every learning process should be experienced with a realistic, respectful sense of living life to the fullest, for the highest good of all concerned — including ourselves.
As such, and as far as I can tell, the best and healthiest way to grieve the loss of a loved one is to love unselfishly ourselves and those others who are still alive.
Again, in my heart, and from my personal perspective, I know that is what my beautiful Mom and Dad would want for me. And I truly believe that’s what your loved ones, now soaring to amazing heights somewhere else other than here, would want for you, too.
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This article is intended for informational purposes only, and should not be considered professional and/or psychological counsel. If you are seeking psychological advice, you should consult a medical professional, psychologist or registered therapist before making any significant decisions regarding mental health. That said, if you have enjoyed this article, or found it useful, please recommend, share and follow me here on Medium, where I write a variety of new posts on a regular basis. Please also feel free to visit my main website: www.HerbieJPilato.com.