The Challenge Of Death And Dying: Letting
Go Of A Loved One

By Julie Redstone

Beloved Ones, the passage into death is not one to be feared, but one that signals the completion of one phase of life so that another can begin.

For in truth, there is no such thing as death, only ongoing life for souls in an ever-expanding process of exploration and learning. The journey is infinite, as are the capacities of each and every soul.

Nevertheless, the emotions created by the loss or anticipated loss of a beloved one are painful to the ones who remain behind, even when there has been a long process of anticipating such an event, and even when the loved one is elderly or quite ill. Even then, the ties of connection can remain strong and the difficulty in letting go can remain equally strong.

What needs to be understood is that these ties of attachment are more than just emotions felt for a period of time. Often, there are karmic ties of long standing that have created deep energetic connections which can be felt within the body. For this reason it is both physically and emotionally true that the loved one feels like a part of oneself. The energetic ties create a sense of relationship over years and over lifetimes. They create a sense of sharing a life with another, even if that other is far away. When the other departs or is on the brink of departing, it can feel as if a piece of oneself is departing as well. In fact, this is literally the case, for following the transition from the physical plane, and sometimes even before it occurs, the energetic ties to those departing begin to be severed, not totally, but enough so that there is an experience of the separation that can be felt in a physical-energetic way. At times, following the death of a loved one, this rupture can feel quite severe, as if there were a forcible ripping away of part of oneself. These are the energetic ties that are leaving along with the physical body of the one who has departed. They are not the ties of love which are able to remain.

How then, given the degree of loss and attachment that can be felt toward those who are loved, is it possible to let go with grace? The answer cannot be a general one, for each individual heart is different, and each one loves in their own unique way. And yet there are components that are similar. The first lies in the willingness to deeply feel the loss, sadness, or grief that may be involved, knowing that there is much of life and learning that is incorporated into the letting go process itself. This process involves teachings that are profoundly intimate that can open the heart to greater life and greater love.

At the same time it is important to entrust the departing one to God and to the future unfoldment of their own journey, as well as to trust the continuation of one's own journey. This assurance of goodness in the presence of death is a foundation for being able to let go with grace, and the absence of this assurance, more than anything else, allows the emotions of despair and loss to become paramount without the softening feeling that arises from trust in the future.

It is also important to understand that the nature and timing of death is part of the life-plan of each soul, built into the blueprint for each incarnation as much as any other feature is built in. This does not mean that the plan is immutable, for there are still choices that remain to each soul regarding timing and regarding the manner of death. There are also new decisions that can sometimes be made, especially when a strong period of spiritual growth has taken place and new factors enter the picture. Yet, for many, the time of transition has been chosen by the soul in accompaniment with Divine will and wisdom prior to arriving on the earth, and despite the suffering that may be involved, the process itself is a significant part of life - as great a teacher as any other aspect of life. In fact, the passage through death is often of greater significance, both in the dying process itself and in the final moments of breath. Often, a soul learns during these final moments more than may have been possible during an entire lifetime.

There is no remedy for the sadness of loss which is an intimate part of love. And yet loss and sorrow can be accompanied by joy, for the heart is large enough to hold both. If all of life is a saying "hello" to circumstances, people, and events that cross one's path, then all of life is also and simultaneously a saying "goodbye" to those same circumstances, people, and events so that something new can take their place. Yet in the midst of this, in the presence of ceaseless change, what remains is love. For the bonds of love are enduring and cannot be severed by death. This is the ultimate comfort in the presence of death and dying – that the bonds of love can grow roots within the heart itself, and once implanted there, are able to remain forever.

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