How to deal with a loss?

If somebody dies, we are confronted with a loss.
Our language has all kinds of phrases I am careful not to use since it represents a whole world view which I don’t necessarily share.
“He died” – what does that say?
“She lost her life” – can you lose a life?
“…passed away” – maybe the person moved on?
And many more examples.

It seems that in our western societies there is a lot of mental space for how to live but not for how to die – or how to deal with the loss of someone else.
The mourners are often hit hard or simply can’t deal with it and people around them might not know what to say.
Depending from which background (cultural, religious) one comes from it can be a more and less difficult or even traumatic experience.

Why does death not have more space in our daily life?
It happens daily, so why aren’t we integrating it more?

I guess we are still very much afraid of it and seduced to think that in our modern world “we can deal with that later”.
Or maybe there is the hope that someone invents the eternity pill for everlasting human life?
(Which I personally don’t wish for. I believe death as a limitation of our human lifetime on earth brings maybe more good than we are actually aware of.)

However – how now to deal with a loss?
First of all – we might want to stop judging death.

Is death good or bad?
Death is.

Taking away the judgment of the bad death, the grim reaper as in very many stories, is for me the first step when dealing with a loss.
Understanding that there is something we don’t need to judge.
We generally don’t need judgements but especially with death it is essential to let go of that.

We will all die one day and there wasn’t a person who didn’t manage to die.
Death annuls all competition or careerism.
In the end we all will have to give off our “last shirt” as a German saying implies, meaning that however much materials you might have accumulated in your lifetime – you can’t take that with you when you die, not even your shirt.

What if we would annul for one moment the common judging of life (= good) and death (= bad)?
What if we took once a stand at the death side, imagining looking back on our life one day and from that perspective looking at our life, at our daily decisions, worries and fears?

I can recommend that warmly. It brings a lot of clarity and above all: honesty.

“If you imagine you look back on your life one day, shortly before you die – what would you do now?”
The answer is often crystal-clear.

Then of course we can try to accept and embrace the upcoming feelings in us, the sorrow, sadness, pain, anger – whatever feeling might come up.
To unconditionally accept our feelings.
It is okay to be sad – we can manage it.
It is the fearful illusion of maybe not surviving a certain feeling which traps us.
You can manage it. I don’t say it is easy – but you can make it.
Maybe our fear is not about the fear of death but about the fear of the emotions the death of a person can evoke in us – which is so difficult. Yet as painful as it might be – we won’t die from an emotion. Through accepting the emotion we will heal.

And third and last:
When my father died, I experienced something I only had an intuition about before.
The experience that my father is actually still with me.

So what was maybe one of my most painful experiences turned out to be the deepening of my life, opening up a dimension larger than life.

I can’t tell you how it will be for you – but I want to encourage you at least to open yourself up to the possibility of this experience. It is worth it.

There is more than we can imagine.

Enjoy Turner’s Sunset and the healing music of Schubert below.

Sun Setting over a Lake, Turner c.1840