I regularly work with people who are mourning the loss of a loved one. If we are lucky during an Excavation, I can make contact with the departed one and open a line of communication for my client. I see how helpful and healing this is for both parties. Often, the worries felt by my clients that their loved one is ‘not ok’ is greatly diminished by this connection.
However, mourning is a tricky thing, especially when the loss is sudden and/or violent. It’s not always easy to find peace or to “move on,” as we are often told to do by our culture, particularly in the cases that seem so untimely and shocking. It is so hard not to imagine the pain or fear we believe our loved one went through. I recently had a few sessions that dealt with this issue, and the information that filtered through from ‘the other side’ felt particularly profound. I share this information here with permission and names/details have been changed to protect privacy, in the hopes that it can be of use and solace to others in similar situations.
“David” died in an accident. In addition to the shock his family and loved ones experienced, they were also left with guilt (all the could-haves and should-haves), the challenging details of his death, and the worry that he had suffered in his last moments. However, the first thing David said when he came through was that he didn’t see those final moments as frightening or gruesome. In his experience, his spirit popped out of his physical form so quickly that he didn’t actually feel any pain. In fact, his spirit form looked at his body and had the thought “Who is that? I should help him.” Even before he fully realized it was him he was looking at, two angels appeared on either side of him and helped him transition quickly and easily. He showed me the transition a number of times to make sure I understood how simple it had been. He told me “I’m fine. I’m fine.” He then asked his family to stop imagining his death as the sad story in their heads, and to reframe their memory of him as a beautiful, strong, virile, joy-filled man, not as a helpless victim. He explained that the pain his friends were generating about the circumstances of his death were not healthy for them or our planet, and that, for the most part, these imaginings were not an accurate picture of his experience, but projections that kept his loved ones in a heightened state of prolonged pain.
I found this piece of information to have profound possibilities for helping other people in mourning. It is possible to miss a deceased one deeply, but also to lessen some of the suffering by staying conscious of our thoughts, and to realize what is fear/imagination/projections versus the loved one’s actual experience. It is very possible that the loved one never felt any of these emotions or pain.
A further example comes from a client who was wracked by guilt that her sister’s body hadn’t been found for a week. My client couldn’t move away from ideas that her sister was ‘angry’ at her for not noticing the loss sooner, or that her sister was left in loneliness as she awaited someone to notice she was dead.
However, the sister responded with laughter to my client’s question, “Are you mad I didn’t find your body?” She answered, “Well, I’m the one who left it there!” And, then, with more laughter, “like a pair of dirty underwear!”
What a different perspective! Isn’t this a study in polar opposites! My client’s pain and guilt over the story she told herself of her sister’s death, and her sister’s sense of joy and sardonic humor, detached from the pain of the event entirely.
One of my earliest experiences with a person experiencing this type of exacerbated mourning was a mother whose 8-year old daughter had been murdered. This occurred before I was doing Excavations. Indeed, it was when I had only an inkling of how I would eventually connect with spirit. This mother was sick with pain imagining her child suffering at the time of her death. We somehow found each other online, and her pain struck a deep part of me. As many of you may be aware, I experienced abuse as a young girl at the hands of a group of very confused people (to say the least!). However, I did not suffer and I did not feel pain in the moment*, and if I had died, as they had planned, I would not have suffered in the least, despite the extremely sick things they were perpetrating. Our bodies go into a state of shock in times like these, or, to the more metaphysically inclined, our spirits leave our bodies and watch from a safe distance. Our spirits can see what’s happening, but not feel it. This is very much like David’s experience of his death.
I was able to tune into the death of this young girl and to know without question that, despite the difficult circumstances of her death, she never felt pain. She had left her body and was watching from a safe distance. She never felt fear. She never felt alone—all of the things her mother was sure she’d gone through. I’d like to think that my communication with this grieving mother had a lasting and loving effect. She wrote me many times afterwards to tell me the relief she felt, and that she was able now to think of her child without ‘replaying’ the horror her child went through. She realized that it wasn’t her daughter who went through the horror, but herself who was living, feeling, and replaying the horror over and over again. Finally, after years, she was able to think of her daughter minus the circumstances of her death. This provided such solace and freedom.
Isn’t this an unusual way to think about death and mourning? Well, I think it is. I do know from the spirits I’ve met, as well as my own near death experience, that what we go through isn’t at all what our relatives-still-living think we went through. Yes, please, mourn the ones you’ve lost. This is important. But it is also important to be concious of our thoughts at this very tender time to steer clear of our worst imaginings. We must think about our loved ones — not in their final moments (we will never have an actual, factual picture of these moments) but as they were in life — joyful, complicated, funny, intense, and human.
Be well. Be free. Live in light.
**a helpful crystal for dealing with loss is a type of obsidian called Apache Tears. It is recommended to place an Apache Tear in one’s pocket and use throughout the day as a comfort stone. This can support the mourning process. Often at the end of an intense period of mourning, when many of the raw feelings have resolved a bit, the Apache Tear will be lost…either by falling out of one’s pocket, or simply disappearing!