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I recently had a conversation with someone and we were discussing technology and all of the advances that have been made over these past few years. Between Facebook, Twitter and Text Messaging many young people are very busy with the art of communication. I asked a young woman who is in her second year of high school just how many text messages she sends a day and I was astounded when she very matter of factly responded that she sends about 125 text-messages a day. I can’t imagine spending all of that time text messaging people. I wonder how people make the time for this type of communication and keep up with the normal other activities that engulf all of us. The new technology is something to behold and it is a very valuable tool to use in communicating with the world around us. The world has gotten very small when we speak about globalization. The world has truly shrunk over these past few years.
My only concern is that with all of this busy work with the computer, just where do people find the time to be alone with their own thoughts and delving into the issues that plague one’s soul? I call it “quiet time” because that is when I get in touch with issues that are on my mind and are felt in the depths of my soul. Oftentimes I hear survivors talk about how busy they are and they use this busy time to distract them from the pain of grief. Survivors move about like a whirling dervish in order to be distracted from the pain that results from a loved one’s suicide. I can understand the wanting to avoid this pain. It is so awful and debilitating to feel the pain of losing a loved one from suicide, but in order to ever have a life after a suicide it is very necessary that survivors spend some quiet time allowing the pain to enter their soul and process the pain–allow the pain to flush through one’s soul. That is the only way that the resolution is going to take place. The comfort level will not happen automatically or with the passage of time. The pain from grief will be processed only by spending some quiet time on a regular basis to allow the pain to become ordinary and allow the comfort level to develop. Sometimes it is very scary to allow the pain to seep into one’s soul. It hurts to the very depths of one’s soul. There is this aching feeling that comes with realizing the enormity and the finality of losing a loved one from suicide.
Survivors have a choice in the grieving process. My suggestion for survivors is that they spend time on a regular basis and look into their souls and feel the resulting pain of the grief process. At the beginning the pain is so raw and overwhelming that survivors feel as if they are losing their minds and going crazy. This is a very normal reaction. Survivors are not losing their minds, but they are engaging in one of the most painful experiences known to humans–grieving the loss of a loved one from suicide. There is no pain worse than the pain of grief. The urge is to avoid this pain and bury oneself in the business of life and everyday activities. I can understand wanting to avoid the pain of grief, but such avoidance is gambling away one’s future happiness and the ability to experience joy.
I can assure each survivor that the results are well worth the effort. All it takes is a willingness to engage in the art of introspection –to look into one’s soul and allow the pain of grief to work its way through the soul. This can be done in the confines of one’s home or by taking a walk in the woods or some other place where one can be alone. Try doing this without the ever-present ipod. I do have an ipod and there are times when I use it, but more often I walk without it and walk accompanied by the thoughts of my soul. There are people who are afraid to be alone with their thoughts. There are people who must be distracted because they are uncomfortable with the thoughts of their souls. People surviving the death of loved one from suicide are easily tempted to engage in the art of distraction so as to avoid the pain of grief. Such activity is risky because one’s future depends on how well the pain of grief is resolved. I only wish that there was some other way to resolve the pain, but in all of these years I have not discovered any other way.
I am challenging survivors to learn the art of introspection and learn to become comfortable looking into one’s own soul and learn to become comfortable in one’s own skin. Such an approach should start in small doses, such as five or ten minutes at a time. It takes real discipline to allow oneself to give up that precious time to look into one’s soul. It is time well spent and the rewards are great. At the beginning the time spent in introspection can be very arduous, but as one gets into the activity this time becomes very special and people look for ways to carve out some alone time just to look into one’s soul, and most often people like what they see. They discover the beauty of their souls and the beauty of their person. Many of us live very active lives and have to really stretch ourselves to find the time to be introspective, but for survivors this can be a lifesaving exercise and an exercise that saves one’s future and enhances one’s life.
Yoga has become a very popular form of exercise. This is time alone to care for one’s body as well as care for one’s soul. Taking care of one’s soul is as important as taking care of one’s body. There is a big emphasis these days on staying fit by getting sufficient exercise. I am of the opinion that taking care of our souls is equally important. That is an integral part of the human person and one that is often neglected. The art of surviving the tragic loss of a loved one from suicide can begin by looking into one’s soul and allowing the pain to sift through the soul. Survivors do not find answers by this introspection, but in the long run they find peace and comfort. That is the final goal of the grief process –becoming comfortable with the pain from grief. It is not winning the war of grief and it is not conquering the pain, but it is finding a way for the pain of grief to peacefully exist within the confines of one’s soul.
As always, I want to assure each member of our LOSS family of my continuing thoughts and prayers during my daily quiet time and I encourage each of you to do the same for each other –especially for those who have recently joined our family.
Keep On Keepin' On,