Let The Old Dreams Die We Have Found New Ones The Search for Meaning When A Loved One Dies

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The Search for Meaning When A Loved One Dies

Meaning affects everything we do; and equally important it affects the body, as evidenced by many examples of mind-body relationships, such as the placebo effect. Finding the meaning of death is not always easy, and sometimes it is hard to find.

However, searching for meaning when a loved one dies can make all the difference in how you cope with your loss and reinvest in life. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, puts it this way: “Understanding makes many things bearable – perhaps everything.”

Searching for meaning is useless early in your grief; first give yourself time to express your emotions and review the relationship. Finally, make every effort to find meaning in your loss. Here are seven considerations that have made sense to others after the death of a loved one and may help you in your search.

1. The understanding derived from the belief that there is a spiritual world. Many people have reported experiences that have convinced them that there is a spirit world and an afterlife. Near Death Experiences (NDEs) have occurred to over 8 million people who report going through a tunnel, seeing others who have died and a beautiful white light.

Others, mourning the death of a loved one, have experienced dreams, visions, and various synchronic and symbolic events called Extraordinary Experiences (EEs). These events provided enough comfort and evidence for them to believe that their loved ones live in another existence. This greatly affected the flow of their grief work.

2. The meaning that comes from celebrating life lived. This may include dedications, memorials, continuing a particular tradition or doing volunteer work in honor of the deceased. Some survivors have established support groups or supported the newly deceased in their community depending on their needs.

3. The meaning derived from the belief that there is a heaven and a hell. Many people who are grieving find comfort in their belief that their loved ones are in heaven with God. Also, many embrace the doctrine of the Communion of Saints, where they can pray to their loved ones and ask them to intercede with God for them.

4. The meaning derived from the belief that love never dies. Many who receive a contact from a deceased loved one or a divine being interpret it as an act of love. Their love for the deceased continues as they reinvest in life and create a new, healthy but different relationship. Feeling loved and giving love when you are hurt is an underused but very effective coping tool.

5. The meaning derived from the belief that one day there will be a reunion with the deceased. Those who believe in an afterlife, heaven, or receive an EE are often convinced that they will see their loved one again when they die. They are not afraid of death and reinvest their energies in their current life.

6. The understanding derived from the belief that the loved one is still providing comfort, care and support. “Even in death, he/she still gives and cares,” is the opinion of many people who feel the presence of their loved one when mourning. This is a profound example for them to emulate.

7. The meaning derived from the belief that the deceased is whole and healthy in a different existence. Many of the after-death contacts that the bereaved experience show the loved one whole and healthy again. They are grateful that the loved one is no longer in pain.

Of course, there are many, many other ways that individual mourners find meaning in the death of their loved ones, which helps them integrate their losses into their lives. Much depends on personal beliefs, the nature of the relationship with the deceased and the manner of death. The search for meaning is an important part of grief work for most, and it often becomes a time when we are open to revising our worldviews and beliefs about life and death.

Sometimes trying to make sense of death seems fruitless. For example, how do you find meaning in the death of a four-month-old baby (this happened to me)? Finally I was able to agree with him. However, seeking out the cause of the experience and making sense of it with a trusted friend or relative is helpful. We need others at this time to be with us when we are in pain. Look for the right person as you try to understand your loss.

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