Sunday, November 1, 2009

Pain and Suffering

A powerful Buddhist quote: “Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional.” When you are in pain, your heart aches, your body feels numb, because someone you love is gone. When we suffer, we may ask, “Will we ever be able to move on? We’re in a rut. We resist getting better.”

The onslaught of pain is inevitable when a child dies. This human being was part of you. You helped make this person, so naturally, if they die (for whatever reason), a part of you dies also, and your heart aches for them. Shock, anger, fright and shaken: any of these emotions can cause pain. It may take either a short or long while before your pain is gone, but there are some who never move on, who never can accept what happened. These people are suffering unnecessarily. There are some strategies that might help those who are having difficulty moving forward and beyond suffering.

1. Write a journal about your feelings. If you have a bad dream or even a good dream, write it down in the morning and reflect on it later in the day.
2. Take a long walk each day to reflect, cry, pray or just sit by yourself.
3. Describe your feelings in a poem, drawing or letter to your loved one and put away for a while, look at it again and reflect on what you said or sketched.
4. See a grief counselor or spiritual leader. These people often have words of wisdom to guide you along on your journey and no one else needs to know you have seen them, if you find it embarrassing.
5. Do things with family. Although this may bring back memories you want to forget, it may also bring back good memories of your loved one that you can keep in your heart forever and think about often.
6. Ask friends to share memories of your loved one. Hard as you may try, you can’t remember everything, and your friends may be able to lighten your heart and mind with a story that you can treasure forever.
7. To feel connected to your loved one, wear a piece of clothing or piece of jewelry that was once theirs.
8. Do a small pamphlet of your loved one’s life in pictures and words and give it to special family and friends who you believe never want your loved one forgotten.
9. Contribute to a cause or start a scholarship fund or foundation in memory of your loved one. See that others can make their lives better through your help. Your loved one would be proud of you.
10. Be a friend to another person who is grieving. Shared experiences can help both of you going through the grieving process.
11. Live each day to the fullest. Help others when you are needed. Hug others when they need your touch. Show patience, sympathy, and empathy to others. Give others what you would also like to have, a soft touch, an understanding smile, a shoulder to lean on, and it will come back to you ten-fold.

Make a commitment to yourself that you will do the best you can each in the midst of your loss, and your life will have more meaning and reach a type of fulfillment you never dreamed possible. Follow your heart by taking one step at a time to deal with your pain and suffering.

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