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Authentic Grief - Finding Meaning in Your After (Part 4)

Authentic Men's Group podcast

Release Date: 05/30/2024

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Authentic Men's Group podcast

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Authentic Men's Group podcast

Chapter #7   Suicide The word “”committed” is usually used in the context of crimes.  2016 suicide was ranked the 10thcause of death in the US. Pg 116 men die from suicide 4x more then women.  Pain is a natural reaction to death but suffering is what our mind does to us. 118 Death by suicide is not a selfish act or even a choice. It’s a sign of a mind that needs help. 114 The path to freedom from the suffering caused by our minds is through finding meaning. Pg 118 There are many paths to meaning, and if you search for them, you will eventually find them. 119 Give the...

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Authentic Men's Group podcast

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Chapter #7   Suicide

The word “”committed” is usually used in the context of crimes. 

2016 suicide was ranked the 10thcause of death in the US. Pg 116 men die from suicide 4x more then women. 

Pain is a natural reaction to death but suffering is what our mind does to us. 118

Death by suicide is not a selfish act or even a choice. It’s a sign of a mind that needs help. 114

The path to freedom from the suffering caused by our minds is through finding meaning. Pg 118

There are many paths to meaning, and if you search for them, you will eventually find them. 119

Give the suicide hotline to call or text: #988 or website 988lifeline.org

Chapter #8   Complicated Relationships  

Be kind, for everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Anonymous

However, hoping they will be different than they are only leads to more turmoil. Pg129

People are who they are, and they don’t change just because we need them to. If they are important enough to us, we will overlook their insensitivity. If they are not, we may consider letting the relationship go. Pg 130

This is the difference between expectations on a relationship versus standards for a relationship.  

We grieve in character, both good and bad. Pg 131

What does the Enneagram have to contribute to grieving? 

My job is how I respond to situations and other people. How people choose to play their characters is not for me to evaluate. My one and only job is my own character. Pg 134

Too often when we deal with people in complicated relationships, we focus on their reactions. If I do this for them, will they appreciate it? Will it be reciprocated? I always encourage people to do kind things with no expectations. Expectations are resentments under construction. Pg 134

In the context of complicated relationships in the time of loss there is a lot of hurt. 

Hurting people hurt people. As a result there are things that are done and said during a time of bereavement that can cause pain.  This is why Kessler goes into some depth talking about forgiveness because grieving neccessates forgiveness.Seek to make forgiveness a part of the grieving process. 

Four Types of Forgiveness:

            1.         Indirect forgiveness: you do it all inside yourself.

            2.         Direct forgiveness: you do it openly in a straightforward manner with sincerity

            3.         Conditional forgiveness: you forgive based on personal judgments made on the person’s character or action. 

            4.         Unconditional forgiveness: you give the person forgiveness whether they ask for it or not with  disregard to their motives and having the personal motive of being free from resentment.

This type of forgiveness is contingent on #1.

Forgiveness opens our hearts when we are stuck in the prison of resentment. We get to be right, but we never get to be happy. The basic question of meaningful relationships is “Do I want to be right or do I want to have relationship?”  Pg 137 

Four Processes to Consider When Forgiving

            1.         Picture the person as an infant.

            2.         Think of them growing up and someone hurting them.

            3.         Acknowledge the relationship with that person for the duration of it and what it has contributed to life.

            4.         Remember the process of my own life, where I am and how I got here. 

When I recognize I’m human and I make mistakes, I can forgive others for their mistakes. Pg 138

This is a strategy for helping the person that has been hurt to work through the process of forgiveness.  This does not justify the hurt that was caused or mean that the consequences of their action.  

One of the biggest spiritual lessons we can learn is to understand that everyone is doing the best they can at any given moment. No one looks in the mirror in the morning and says; “I think I’ll be a real jerk today.”  Pg. 139

It will help to remember that forgiveness is seldom for “them”. It is for you. Pg. 139

In  chapter #9

There are five specific ways that people can grow after tragedy:  pg. 158

            1.         Their relationships grow stronger.

            2.         They discover new purposes in life.

            3.         They find inner strength.

            4.         Spirituality is deepened.

            5.         They renew their appreciation for life. 

Chapter #10 Miscarriage and Infant Lose

Even our dictionaries often include the word “failure” in the definition of miscarriage.

Try to understand that while your partner may grieve differently from you, they still deserve a grief process that is treated with sensitivity and respect. Lean on each other during this difficult time, and give each other grace.

How can they say goodbye when they’ve never had a chance to say hello? They are grieving for what could have been

Chapter #11 Illnesses of Our Mind: Mental Illness and Addiction

My mind is a bad neighborhood. I try not to go into it alone.  Anne Lamott  171

Addiction should no longer be seen as a moral failing or a lack of willpower. It is a medical problem, an illness that leads to a progressively worsening chronic condition, and one that is particularly hard to fight, because the drugs involved attack the brain of users, the very organ that helps us fight other dangers to our survival. The same can be said for mental illness. We can’t tell a person who is mentally ill or addicted to use his/her brain to help himself recover, because the brain is a diseased organ.  Pg 175

The Three C’s of Al-Anon pg. 177

            1.         We didn’t cause it

            2.         We cannot control it

            3.         We cannot cure it

Sometimes the most meaningful realization in the loss of grief is our loss of control.

Meaning is everywhere if you look for it. Pg 178

Addiction is about numbness. When you’re addicted, that numbness allows you to ignore the danger, to think that you’re in control when you’re using. And even when you are sober, you may still be numb to the danger and relapse. We understand the relapse is part of recovery. Pg 185 

Chapter #12 More Love Than Pain

I don’t think of all the misery, but of all the beauty that remains. Anne Frank

The common belief is that grief is all about pain. Anyone who has been in grief would certainly agree with that. But I believe there is more. There is love. Why do we believe that the pain we feel is about the absence of love? The love didn’t die when the person we love died. It didn’t disappear. It remains. 

The question is: How do we learn to remember that person with more love than pain… There is not getting around the pain. We have to go through it because it is an inevitable result of the separation we are experiencing. It’s a brutal, forced separation. Pg 191

The pain you feel is proportionate to the love you had. The deeper you loved the deeper the pain. But you will find that love exists on the other side of the pain. It’s actually the face of pain. 

My thought - Love doesn’t exit because of the pain; no, love exists in, through and beyond the pain.

You can’t heal what you can’t feel. P 192

Get in touch with the feeling, let it speak to you, let it go through you and then be done with it.

If you’re sad, you need to stay with the sadness and feel it full. If you have a hundred tears to cry don’t stop at fifty. The secret to remembering with love begins with accepting the pain, not trying to deny it or ignore it. Pg 192

No matter how deeply spiritual or religious we are, sometimes we want to be left in the humanness of our pain. 193

Whenever you are talking about your loss, do you want the spiritual response, the human response or both?  Pg 193

Those of us who have lost someone dear do need to be in pain. Pg 193

Feeling the pain is a necessary part of remembering the love. The pain is part of the love. We can’t love someone and lose them without feeling pain. Not only do we have a need to feel the pain, we also need to have it witnessed by others, not pushed away. Pa 195

Grief may be postponed but it cannot be eradicated. Pg 195

Buffalo run into a storm, thus minimizing how long it will last Pg 196

The avoidance of grief will only prolong the pain of the grief. Better to turn toward it and allow it to run its natural course, knowing that the pain will eventually pass, that one of these days we will find the love on the other side of the pain. Pg. 196 

We are made up of love. We are the sum total of love. If I’ve ever felt one moment of real love in my life, that can be with me in my most terrifying moments. Love never dies. In our darkest moments love remains. When everything else is gone, love continues. Pg 197

What we appreciate, appreciates.  198

The Three Steps To Taking In The Good  (Rick Hanson) 199

 

            1.         Identify a positive experience or memory

            2.         Enrich it. Savor it. Intensify it.

            3.         Absorb the experience. Sink into it and let it sink into you. 

Pain is never the whole story. We may get lost in it for a while, but there’s always something more. Pg 200

Love Bursts – a surge of love that comes from a memory of a person. 

When we move through pain and we release it, we fear there will be nothing, but the truth is, when the pain is gone we are connected only in love. Kessler says, “Though much of my work is about giving people permission to grieve fully after a loss, I also want to give them permission to keep loving. 202

Love doesn’t stop with death. A body dies but love doesn’t.  page 202

 Love doesn’t exit because of the pain; no, love exists in, through and beyond the pain.

You can’t heal what you can’t feel. P 192 Feel the pain, experience the love. I find that when I reflect on the people I have lost that if I concentrate for just a bit I can still feel their love

Look for small seeds of love in pain. Just like a delicate plant, we have to pay attention to it and nourish it. If we do, the love will flower once again in our hearts. Pg 202

Chapter #13 Legacy

In 2010 Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffet created a Giving Pledge, a campaign to encourage billionaires to commit to donating half or more of their wealth to philanthropic causes during their lifetime. Pg 205 

Each of us affects many people throughout our lives. The movie It’s a Wonderful Life does a brilliant job of helping us realize how many people we affect in our lives without realizing it. Pg 206

Write down their memories in a memory book to share with friends and family. They can continue to observe traditions and visit places that were meaningful to that person. Pg 209

Missing them is part of the remembering them, and how you remember your loved one is part of their legacy.  Pg209

Visiting a place that was special to our loved ones helps us remember and connects us to their legacies.  Pg 210

Ensuring that the good qualities of your loved one will live on in your own life is perhaps the most meaningful of all legacies. Pg 211

We grieve as a tribe and we’re always modeling for that tribe. Pg 212

Ultimately our loved ones belongings can become a trap when se find ourselves unable to part with them… What I have learned from my work is that as we decrease the outer evidence that our loved ones lived, we must increase the evidence inside of us.  Pg215

I help people understand that they themselves are the biggest piece of evidence of their loved one’s lives. 

As you think about how to do something meaningful with the things that are in your possession, I encourage you to photograph those things you care about before letting them go. I’ve found that you can get the same emotional reaction from a photo as you do from the item itself.   Pg217

You are also beginning to process the reconstruction of your own life. Nothing will return you to the way you were before you lost your loved one. But everything you do to help his legacy flourish and grow will help you grow, too. 

Chapter #14 Grieving to Believing: The Afterlife

Just as birth is about a change in the mother’s connection to the infant who was once inside of her, so is death a change in our relationship to the person who is no longer here but still lives within us. Death does not end a relationship, it changes it.  Pg220  Expand on this below.

In a mother’s womb were two babies. The first baby asked the other: “Do you believe in the life after this world?”

The second baby replied, “Why of course. There has to be something after this world.”

“Nonsense,” said the first. “There is no life after this world. What would that life be? The umbilical cord supplies nutrition. Life after this would be impossible. The umbilical cord is too short. There can’t be a world after this one.”

The second baby held his ground. “I think there is something, and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we’ll see each other there.”

The first baby replied, “If there is another world, no one has ever come back from there. Leaving here is the end of life and after delivery, there will be nowhere to go and nothing but darkness.”

Well, I don’t know,” said the twin. “But certainly we’ll see Mother and she will take care of us.”

“Mother?”  The first baby guffawed. “You believe in a mother? An all-powerful, intelligent being that makes all this happen? Where is she now?”

The second baby calmly and patiently tried to explain. “She is all around us. It is in her that we live. Without her, there would not be a world.”

“Ha. I don’t see her, so it’s only logical that she doesn’t exist.” 

To which the other replied, “Sometimes when you’re in silence you can hear her, you can perceive her. I believe there is a reality after this world.”

Writing a good-bye letter may be a terrible idea because the relationship has not ended. Writing a transformation letter may be effective Pg 220

The Five Stages of Grief were never meant to be an end unto themselves, and completion of them wasn’t supposed to signify the ending of the relationship or grief. There is a continuing evolution in the relationship pg. 221

When someone dies the relationship doesn’t die with them. You have to learn how to have new relationships with them. You can still keep learning from them in your everyday life. Pg 221 I have seen my wife do this with her grandmother in asking how she would approach a certain situation with the wisdom and candor that her grandmother still provides. 

You’re not closing the door on a relationship with the person who died. You don’t ever bring the grief over a loved one to a close. You’re opening the door to a different relationship. Remaining connected to your loved one in grief is not “unhealthy grieving.” It’s normal. In death, our attachments continue, as does the love. The connections continue to evolve. Pg222

“My mother’s and my relationship has improved a great deal in the twenty years since she passed away. I think I’ve learned to understand her and look at her with more compassion.”  Pg223

There are three phenomena encountered by those dying:  pg. 226

            1.         Visions – looking into the world to come.

            2.         Getting ready to go on ‘a trip’

            3.         Crowded rooms.

Three possible options for viewing the afterlife:  Pg 227

            1.         They have an awareness of you. They see you grieving.

            2.         They are no longer in touch with this world. 

            3.         They died, and their consciousness became nothing.

            One focus – We should grieve fully and then live fully.

We were put on this earth for such a short time and we will never get to experience this life again. So why don’t we think about how much one more day would mean in our own lives?  Pg 228

In the face of great losses life goes on. The world keeps spinning. The seasons change. Every storm gives way to a clear new day. Despite our losses we continue… Love and life remain within us and the potential for meaning is always there. 228

Either all deaths matter or none of them do. Pg238

The worst kind of loss is your loss Pg 238

Acknowledge the power of grief Pg 239

Broken heart syndrome is a temporary disruption of your heart’s normal pumping function, often brought on by a surge of stress hormones triggered by a serious event, such as the death of a loved one… Women are more likely to have broken heart syndrome, but anyone over fifty-five is at a higher risk.  Pg 240

If we shut our ears out of hurt and anger, we will miss it. Pg 244

Martin Seligman 3 P’s that can shape our world after loss

            1.         Personalization – you blame yourself for it, or feel like the only one who has ever suffered such a tragic loss

            2          Pervasiveness – you believe that a negative event will destroy everything in your life

            3.         Permanence – you believe that the effects of a loss or a disaster will last forever. 

No one likes or wants this new normal  Pg.  245

The phrase “I don’t know how you are doing it”. I tell them I am not. I have just decided to be a part of ongoing life.

What would best honor the years they didn’t get? That could be one way of bringing meaning to our lives without them.

 Pg248

People often think there is no way to heal from severe loss. I believe that is not true. You heal when you can remember those who have died with more love than pain, when you find a way to create meaning in your life in a way that will honor theirs. It requires a decision and a desire to do this, but finding meaning is not extraordinary, it is ordinary. It happens all the time all over the world.  Pg 248

There are people who walk this earth in awe of the life around them. They are not people who have had a perfect life. The truth is they are often the ones who have had a lot of tragedy. Pg 248

There are magical moments to be had with our living loved ones now. Our job is to find them and cherish them. Through them, we can still find sweetness in the world. Pg 249

There are challenges to finding meaning. Every moment we are making choices-whether to move toward healing or to stay stuck in pain. Like all the other stages, the sixth stage of grief requires movement. We can’t move into the future without leaving the past. We have to say goodbye to the life we had and say yes to the future. Pg 249

Ask yourself, “Who would I be if I changed and grew with this loss? More important, who will you be if you don’t? 249

Now that your loved one has died, who are you? Pg 249