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After the Funeral: When Grief is Part of Daily Life (


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To read more of Elaine Smookler's article, please click here.

After everyone has gone home and you are left with just you, life—which at this moment might feel like it is clearly already against you—could also feel like it has booby-trapped the way forward with the gulp of yet another “Oh no, not that!” As if you haven’t been through enough, you might suddenly find yourself staring into a searing interrogator’s light reminding you that the rest of life is now on you—and you alone—to figure out. Yay.

As much as you might want to escape this part, This, my dear, is part of how grief might present itself. It is likely going to be unavoidable. In its own horrible way, it makes sense. Your life, your habits, your neural pathways were all chugging merrily, or drearily, along—and then the train derailed, leaving casualties behind.

This is inner wisdom bubbling up to help you navigate this new and strange landscape.

That’s not a nothing burger. You may well share some of the behaviors attributed to shock victims. And the treatment for shock is gentleness, understanding, rest, quiet, making time to recharge, and creating a sense of safety. So if you are craving that, know that this is inner wisdom bubbling up to help you navigate this new and strange landscape.

Life stretching you into new shapes might be uncomfortable, but these shocking moments can be like diving into the awakening effects of ice-cold water. Brrr. The good news is, this attention-getting moment might make it easier to see where you are mercilessly clinging to the past, or fearful of trying something new.

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Parents outliving their children — let alone their very young children — is my greatest problem with human existence. It's simply wrong; so much so that it doesn't even have a name for it.

A child is orphaned when its parents die. A woman is widowed when her husband passes away; likewise, a man is a widower. But no name for the most unnatural order of things — parents outliving their children.

It actually turns my stomach just imagining what this very worst of parental experience might feel like. And it must be exponentially worse if the child’s death was quite pointless and preventable. ...

For some or many of those suffering such greatest of losses, the greatest gift life then offers them is that someday they get to die. Perhaps worsening matters is when suicide is simply not an option, meaning there’s little hope of receiving an early reprieve from their literal life sentence.

To quote passages of a poem:

I awoke from another very bad dream, a reincarnation nightmare / where having thankfully died I’m still bullied towards rebirth back into human form / despite my pleas I be allowed to rest in permanent peace. // ...

... // Each second that passes I should not have to repeat and suffer again. / I cry out ‘give me a real purpose and it’s not enough simply to live / nor that it’s a beautiful sunny day with colorful fragrant flowers!’ //

I’m tormented hourly by my desire for both contentedness and emotional, material and creative gain / that are unattainable yet ultimately matter naught. My own mind brutalizes me like it has / a sadistic mind of its own. I must have a progressive reason for this harsh endurance! //

Could there be people who immensely suffer yet convince themselves they sincerely want to live when in fact/ they don’t want to die, so greatly they fear Death’s unknown? //

No one should ever have to repeat and suffer again a single second that passes. //

Nay, I will engage and embrace the dying of my blight!

Last edited by Frank Sterle Jr.
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