Crossing over: Grief, loss and bereavement

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“The faith and belief in an everlasting life is so strong in the mind of the faithful that, on one hand, it makes no difference whether he is living on earth or is departed, and, on the other, there is an unfailing connection between this life and the hereafter.” – Death, The Threshold to Eternal Life

To me, January is always grim. I’m not quite sure why but this year it seems many suffered a loss last month.

Bereavement*, however, takes many forms.

You’ve miscarried, your child moved away, or your marriage has ended. You are widowed or an elderly relative has fallen ill, diminishing their physical agility and independence. It is as if we are beginning a life without them, or rather, with them in a different way. No longer able to call them up for a good laugh or counsel, we build a telephone line in our heart, keeping our thoughts and prayers with them at all times.

We swim in the sea of grief until one day we look around and ever so quietly think to ourselves: I am here. I have crossed over. I have arrived. Forever thankful for the times we had with them on this side.

Gone From My Sight

I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side,
 spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts 
for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. 
I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck 
of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.

Then, someone at my side says, “There, she is gone.”

Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast,
 hull and spar as she was when she left my side.
 And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port.

Her diminished size is in me – not in her.

And, just at the moment when someone says, “There, she is gone,”
 there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices 
ready to take up the glad shout,

“Here she comes!”

– Henry van Dyke

*Bereavementverb 

1 be deprived of a loved one through a profound absence, esp. due to the loved one’s death.

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Jessica is a training and development specialist in Toronto, Canada. She enjoys observing, overanalyzing and exploring the perpetual conflict of interest between mind and heart.

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