One Journey in Grief…And Another, Yet Another…and Another Lorna J. Hines

My Journey
At times I boast of my membership in the “baby boomers’ generation identifying  with at least of some of the thematic elements characterized by that group. Of import I feel, is the element of implementing what seems impossible.  After all did we not coin the mantra, “if you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.”  Historically, it was (and for some still is) a time that prepared and ushered in change.  These changes exerted a holistic sphere wherein change was possible in the political, economic, social and other essential parts of our cultural experience.   You may recall opportunities in healthcare vastly improved, as did the role Americans and a concomitant demand for equal civil and human rights among many.  As I recall during this period we began to explore the idea of reparations for African Americans based upon the torturous years of slavery and forced labor although currently this seems to be a dormant issue.
However, on a current note, I find myself least prepared to handle the inevitable circle of life which ends-at least on this physical plane. 

I believe the optimism and strength of conviction of many of my generation left me ill prepared for loss of loved ones-especially in my personal situation, the loss of seven family and close friends from mid-September, 2016 to the beginning of 2017.
I was not prepared despite the fact long-term illness was the etiology that enabled the grim reaper to step forward.  But again owing to optimism and belief in possibilities couldn’t their lives be spared?  Were there not clinical trials, numerous breakthroughs and the enormous possibilities of miracles?  Four out of the seven were numerically old but again is becoming old the reason people die?  Again research and latest findings indicate there are great possibilities in aging if we eat right, exercise and keep our minds active, and develop and maintain healthy social relationships.
And I suppose I must add that as a medium I talk to people in spirit all of the time.  As a healer I have communed with those who were making their transition, holding their hands and whispering words of love, compassion and asking Spirit to guide their safe transition home. 

I have enjoyed extensive studies, mentorship, and workshops with many of the world-renowned mediums in the world.  I have offered
personal one to one and gallery styled mediumship readings to many people providing much needed energetic connections to their loved ones in spirit.
However, something within me was jarred on September 18th within my social, emotional, physical and spiritual self with the loss of my dear mother, aunts, and four close friends.  Without warning I found myself in a closed dark room with no windows.

Each person’s experience with the loss of a loved one is personal-even those who profess such as I that people’s spirits do not actually die.  However, for me the loneliness of its’ impact was and still issuer the most difficult to articulate.  There was nothing available to assuage the emptiness.  Despite the fact both my mother and aunts suffered from chronic illnesses there was something comforting in the energy of their aliveness.  I am not certain if it has to do with the degree of optimism and hope or the actual energy of love and support that was/is exuded.  Whatever the case the only short lived balm was to throw myself into the “homegoing service” preparations which would serve as a testament to their lives and proof of my love and devotion. 

However, these activities proved to be a double edged sward.  “Homegoing Services” among a variety of ethnic groups consists of providing a spiritually uplifting testament to God and the life of the deceased.  There is less emphasis on the somber aspects of the funeral, but more emphasis on the singing of lively hymns and focusing on the uplifting and zealousness of the person’s life. 

This was especially important for my Mom who was a particularly inspiring person.  She was described as a person who when she walked into a room one heard music and a mosaic of colors.
However, in the course of preparing a homegoing service, there is a need for extension preparation and attention to detail.  All of these things require strength, stamina, and support of many others.  While I had a supply of the aforementioned it was not endless and there were times I organized, prepared and coordinated from sun up to sun down, returning home and falling into bed completely exhausted.  Unfortunately, due to the sheer numbers of lost loved ones, the scenario of preparations  (although I was not personally responsible all seven homegoing services) and participation continued feeling like an onslaught of enemy soldiers such as depicted in the movie starring Denzel Washington called, “Glory”. Do you recall the small number of black soldiers marching into war during a snowstorm without adequate clothing, boots, ammunition, but nonetheless marching forward with dignity and resolve.
Things That Helped
However, there were things along the path that helped to revive, uplift, and keep me during this period.   One of the extremely positive outcomes of my experience with multiple losses was to reevaluate how I interact with people in the midst of their own journey of grieving. As well meaning folks approached me to express their thoughts, ideas and feelings I increased my understanding of what was helpful and what was less than helpful.  For example, one of the foremost reasons for writing this rambling blog was at the suggestion of a dear friend who chimed you need to write about this.
First and foremost, I would be less than forthright and honest that in the main most people who approached me with condolences were truly expressing their caring and compassion and in many cases their love.  Most I believe were doing and saying things to relieve my pain and suffering-despite the fact that the pain one feels maybe in direct proportion to the love for the lost loved one.  And perhaps there is no therapeutic and immediate escape albeit medications, substance abuse, and unconsciousness.
The statements I offer are meant to stir the pot in how we offer sympathies and compassion to those who are grieving.  Secondly, it is important to note these are my very personal experiences and may not be relevant to many others.

One of the main tenants I wish to offer is the importance of being clear you are ready, willing and able to offer help to the grieving person.  Further, that this is a time that is not about you, your needs, ideas and feelings.  It is essential to the idea and practice of how “to be” –just being with the person who is grieving.  One of my most memorable experiences during the loss of my sister and brother-in-law at nearly the same time it was so close was with a friend and co-worker.  When he approached me following these losses he said, “there’s nothing I can say because I don’t know what to say, can I just sit and be with you?” 

It was helpful to feel the energy of someone in the midst of the jumbled emotions including stigma that at times were challenging to identify, articulate, and resonate with.
The following are some additional thoughts that I would like to categorize as helping during stages: pre funeral, funeral, and post funeral.

Pre Funeral
This can be the most exhausting part of the grieving process because the bereaved may lack the physical and emotional resources to handle all that needs to take place.  I often found myself at the end of a long day barely eating and much too tired to cook or order in.  A close friend made sandwiches and also provided muffins and pastries.  Ensuring there is adequate food and drink is essential.  If you have the time and really mean it volunteering to help with tedious tasks such as notifying family and friends, helping to clean, running errands, looking up information on the Internet. Simple tasks that take time can help to alleviate the stress the bereaved may experience.  During this time I found statements such as “your mother was very old,” or how old was she, oh you had her such a long time” less than helpful. While the statements maybe true on an emotional basis it was not comforting.  I wish to the present day for more time with my mother, aunts and loved ones. whether they were well or infirmed.  Even during final days, their final days an energetic presence was comforting and sustaining.  I still felt their love and caring for me.

Funeral Proceeding, Rituals, etc.
You may keep in mind that the feelings of loneliness, alienation versus the need to conduct oneself with decorum maybe challenging.  Again, I was grateful for the comforting words of love I received from many as well as the strong arm that suddenly appeared when I felt I would faint.  And even if things did not go as perfect as planned it is still ok.  Spiritual philosophers often indicate the person who has passed attend their own funeral and are extremely pleased wit the beautiful spoken words and ambiance.  Again the continual need for support, volunteers who are willing to do things as needed as well as the importance of the bereaved to ask for help when needed.

Post Funeral
Keep in mind once the rush is over (dependent upon religious preferences and faiths) the bereaved may begin to feel the enormity and heaviness of grief.  For many, it maybe a more elongated process.  However, support is key.  After the rush of preparation is over the grieving person’s need for social support is paramount.  You may consider invitation for lunch, coffee or tea that maybe helpful.  A question on two focused on how are you doing or how can I be helpful can be a definite need.  There are many instances when an extra hand or two can be exceptionally helpful.  In my own case, there was a time -limited focus on settling and cleaning out my mother’s apartment.  In that case, the phrase “the more the merrier” was my mantra as this was an unexpectedly yeomen’s task, taking on physical, emotional and psychological toil.

Ending Thoughts
Although the circle of life promises when we live we will eventually die, the grieving process offers challenges.  Some of those who describe themselves as spiritual remind us death does not represent the end.  We are told love never dies since why else can we effectively communicate and feel the presence of those in spirit?
While all those things are absolutely true, as one who has initiated contact with those on the other side, I am a true believer.  However, as a healer I am also aware that grieving is a natural process towards healing.  These words were meant to inspire, and help those who are grieving and provide direction and support to those who care about the bereaved.

Lorna J Hines May 2017.

This website and its content is copyright of Lorna J Hines - © iSupportU 2019. All rights reserved.
Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the contents in any form is prohibited.  Specifically, you may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you transmit it or store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.