Accepting death

Accepting the Death of Your Loved One

Speaking of accepting the death of a loved one elicits varied responses.  There is the eye-roll that says, “Well, that’s obvious”.  There are tears.  There is anger.  Most often there is refusal.  “I don’t like it.  I don’t want to accept it.  I won’t accept it.”

What does “accepting death” mean?

To accept is not to like.

 

To accept is not to welcome.

 

To accept is not to approve.

 

To accept is just that:  To Accept.

 

Today, try taking yourself to a safe and quiet place, in your home or out in nature, and saying out loud, “_________ (your loved one’s name) is dead.”  

 

Say it as objectively as possible, as you would say, “The sky is blue.”  Allow yourself to observe.  Observe how the words feel on your tongue, how they sound in your ear. Observe what images come to mind, observe how your chest feels, how your breathing changes. Observe without judgement — no “right”, no “wrong”.  Simply observe.  

 

At first, it may be difficult to use the word “dead”, but don’t substitute it with something like “passed away” or “lost” — those things are simply not true.  Your loved one is not lost.  He has not passed away.  Her body has died.  His form has ceased to live.  The acceptance of this tangible fact is the first, vital step in building an on-going relationship with them.

 

It is also a challenging and painful step, so be gentle with yourself.  And remember, you are not alone.


Further suggested TrueSolace reading: Common Grief Experiences

Further suggested outside reading: ‘How to Accept the Death of a Loved One‘ by Mitch Reid with Livestrong.com