Friday, March 16, 2012

Day 76 of Your Year to Wellness: Dealing with the Loss of a Loved one

Love Never Leaves

I’ve been putting this off for some time now, but I’m no longer able to do so.

We’ve all suffered the loss of a loved one. We go to the funeral and we have a week or two off and then we go back to life as normal. “Time heals all wounds,” we’re told. But the time goes by and by and everyday something reminds you of the loved one who’s gone from your daily presence and that wound opens up again.

I have often said that nothing is ever really lost in the Universe but when I suffered the loss of my mother and then one of my children, and shortly afterwards my nephew I felt that everything was out of sync.

People can understand for a while but then they expect for you to get back to business as usual. These folks are not being insensitive they just don’t know what you’re going through.

 I once met a woman whose mother had died a few years prior to our meeting. She said that she just couldn’t get her life on track. I told her that I knew the feeling and that it would never get any easier but it would become more normal. Another woman stepped in and corrected me, “Don’t tell her that.” She boomed. It does get easier, just trust in the Lord.”

The other woman burst into tears and walked off. We want to console others with the right words and condolences but there really are none.  There are lessons to be learned and life to be lived so today I’d like to share with you what I’ve learned about the death of a loved one.

Just before my mother made her transition, I was in DC about to speak at a book signing. I got a call that my mother had to go back in the hospital and I raced to the car rental dealership to return the  car before flying back home. I was trying to hold it together but I was crying and couldn’t stop. My mom had been sick off and on from all of the complications that came from having a brain tumor and a series of strokes and heart attacks. There were long periods of highs where she was perfectly fine and I could go back to work as usual but then she would have another heart attack or stroke and she’d go back into the hospital for long stays of recovery.

This time, I felt that something was different. My mother had been preparing me for her passing but I just didn’t want to accept it. She was 87 at that point but still, we were just getting to know each other.

My childhood with her had been tough but her during last 20 years she was her true self and we became best friends. The day I returned that car I couldn’t hold back my tears. I could barely see as I pulled into the return space. A beautiful Eritrean man who looked to be in his 70s was working there.  He came to help me with my thing and when he noticed me crying he began to console me.

“Oh daughter what is wrong,” he asked. His voice almost sang the words allowing me to open my heart to him. I told him that my mother was very sick and that I was afraid that she might die.

“I am so sorry,” he was shaking his head and he reached out to hold me and I allowed him to. The hug lasted for all of a second when he grabbed me by the shoulders and said “Wait a minute, how old is your mother?”  I wanted to ask why but I couldn’t so when I managed to tell him her age the man shook my shoulders and told me to stop crying.

This is nature, you cannot be mad at the cycle of life.” I was shocked but I knew this man was telling me something that I would need when the shock wore off.

Your mother was born to learn the lessons of life so she could teach them to you and you are to teach them to your children or any you may know. This is how we make heaven on earth. “

His face softened and he went back to the kind old man. He told me that it is hard because of love. “If you had no love there would be no hurt.” He said and I knew that on that day this man was truly there for me.”

My mom died the next day, but love never leaves. I am still crying but I know that the love is still here.

Matter is never created nor destroyed it simply changes its form. So when I see something that  puts me in mind of my mother, I no longer allow it to make me sad, I allow it to remind me of the fact that she is not lost to me, she has simply changed her form. When I remember this everything becomes clear and vibrant and I can see heaven on earth.

·         The loss of a loved one can have a major impact on your well-being. As you make the transition on this side to life without the loved one, stay grounded and make sure that you eat, drink water, rest and heal.

·         When someone you know has suffered a loss, console them with love but if you don’t understand don’t try to pretend to. We all want to help but sometimes when we don’t know what to say, it’s best to say nothing.

·         “Listen more often to things than to beings it’s the ancestor’s prayers.”  ~ Sweet Honey

·         Talk about death openly and teach your children that it is a part of life.

Before my mother died she told me that she would give me a gift; she said that she was taking all of the generational baggage and leaving me a clean slate.

We all suffer a loss, but with it the Universe has the gain.
Be you, Be well, Be whole.
Bertice Berry, PhD.


  1. Thank you, Dr. Berry. Another example of all things working together. I am at this place.

    1. Much peace to you today as you move through and to heaven on earth. I'll be thinking of you and the fact that our ancestors are dancing together