The Light Beyond Helping you through grief and bereavement, one step at a time... Why not visit our site, with its bereavement forum, store, movie and grief library? You can send one of our free sympathy ecards too.
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I wanted to draw the attention of readers to Christa's excellent site www.giggleon.com. She has also written a great article about way to remember your lost loved ones:
Have you lost a loved one?
What action have you taken to honor their memory and their life?
How do you keep the love you shared with them alive?
Whether your loved one died of natural causes, disease or even by suicide, survivors, mourners and the grief stricken look for ways to keep the memory of those who passed alive. Honoring them is an important part of the healing process
I came across the website www.oursonbilly.com recently, and feel that it offers hope and encouragement to those who have suffered the tragic loss of a son or daughter. In the words of Billy's father:
"This website has been created in honor of our son Billy, who died on June 26, 2004, four days before his 29th birthday. It's about our grief over the death of a child, of what helped us recover and about an amazing event which began to occur to us about 10 months after Billy crossed over to heaven.
We have been able to receive many signs from Billy, mostly through photographs which you can see here.
This website is for anyone who has suffered the loss of a loved one or anyone who wonders what we as parents go through right after the death of a child. If you've ever wondered if you can communicate with loved ones after they crossover or if they can send us signs to say they are still close, the answer is "YES"."
"NOW moments are about making a conscious effort to drink in our time with each other. With Thanksgiving and Christmas rapidly approaching, we often get caught up in the busyness of preparation and trying so hard to make it a wonderful experience.
We received a call from Canada last week wanting to know if we had a movie that would help the bereaved family of a fourteen year old boy, who made his transition after falling from a tree. It just so happened, that we had been in communication this past year with a beautiful young woman, Lucie Storrs who, in loving memory of her own mother, had revised a poem written by Mary Elizabeth Frye (1904-2004) and turned it into a free flash online movie. Having loved and lost a son of my own, I felt instantly drawn to the healing message of the poetry of this movie. We'd been working with Lucie on some revisions, and it seemed that now was the clearly the time to complete it and make it available for people to be renewed by.
I remember back when our son passed on, I could hardly breathe in the next breath ... and the things that helped us the most were the books about love and loss that a member of our community brought to us in the hospital. We clung to those books to make it through the early days... and ultimately gave us a seed of hope for the future.
It is our hope that this week's meditative movie brings everyone who needs it, a peace that passes all understanding.
Thank you for all you are doing to make this world a more peaceful place to live. We welcome you to pass this movie along to those you know who will appreciate your love and support in their time of need.
Looking down at the cemetery plot, I could only feel tears streaming down my face. My grandmother had just passed away at the age of 96, almost 97. People were constantly saying to me, "...but she lived a full and long life;" however, at that moment none of those statements really mattered. I only felt a sense of loss - a huge one at that.
Still, with my eyes on the grave, with tears welling up, I began remembering my grandmother. I could even begin seeing what I thought might be shadows of her in the cemetery grave. I thought I was also experiencing the wonderful scents of her kitchen - the aroma of her wonderful chicken soup that filled her pots every Friday afternoon and the fragrance of the sizzling potato pancakes which always had been my favorites.
Just then I remembered a story about my grandmother when she was in the hospital one time, already in her late 80's. She was in a special hospital room for an x-ray to be taken. The technician left the room ready to turn the x-ray machine on; however, my grandmother started screaming, "WAIT, WAIT!"
The technician stormed back into the room frantically asking, "Mrs. Segal, Mrs. Segal, are you okay? What's the matter?"
To this my almost 90-year-old grandmother calmly replied, "You failed to ask me whether I might be pregnant."
That, and many more positive stories about my grandmother, told me who she really was. As I stood at the cemetery, I noticed that my tears had changed to smiles.
The key, I believe, to overcoming grief is in "memories." As long as I remember my grandmother in my heart, she will always be "with me."
As the funeral ended, I whispered to my grandmother that I loved her very much and would visit her soon - if not at the cemetery, then in my memories.
Michael Jordan Segal, (c) 2001
Michael Segal is a social worker at Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston, Texas. An author and an inspirational speaker. He has been on national television as well as having national magazines feature stories about his "comeback" following his being shot in the head and left for dead as an innocent bystander to a robbery. Mike's story, "My Miraculous Family," was first published in "Chicken Soup for the Christian Family Soul." To contact Mike by email, use firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at: www.inspirationbymike.com
When my father passed away last October, my mother, brother, and sister were all feeling quite distraught over the loss of a beloved husband and parent under seemingly sudden circumstances. Amidst the hurried preparations for a quick burial in accordance with our tradition, I scarcely had time to think, to do much else past taking care of urgently important details, making sure that my family and my father made the journey to the city in which his body would rest. Then came the service, and after seven days of Shiva, a time in which we are free of our daily responsibilities in order to fully mourn the loss that has occurred. This process was particularly therapeutic and thus healing for me and I truly appreciated the genius behind the creation of such a tradition.
Being able to fully mourn the loss of my father gave me the ability to slowly move back into the stream of life when the seven days were up, knowing that I further had the first 30 days after his death in which I might decline participating in joyous events that I might otherwise feel pressured to participate in, and then regret or resent. This had the unforeseen benefit of allowing me the time and space in which to not merely recover from the loss, but to appreciate the enormous impact and life lessons of being the child of this man.
Having just finished listening to Earl Nightingale speak of integrity on his recording, Lead the Field, I immediately thought of Dad, and the powerful example of integrity that he modeled for us. A survivor of the Holocaust, whose parents died in Auschwitz, my Dad spent those war years not merely surviving himself, but helping others to do so. After miraculously escaping one camp, he worked tirelessly to help others do the same, despite the constant risk to himself in doing so. After the war, he was determined to find his brothers and reunite the family, which he did indeed.
In 1949, escaping Czechoslovakia after it fell to the Soviets, he immigrated to America, where he refused any financial help, learned the language of his newly adopted country, and eventually worked his way up from salesman to president of his own company. The hallmark of his business life was integrity. He was fiercely loyal to family, scrupulously clean in his business dealings, and always looked out for his employees.
When my parents moved south to retire, Dad instead opened a small business and quickly developed a reputation for honest business dealings among the local minority population, who saw him, an "outsider", as someone they could trust to look out for their best interests in an area of business in which they were often taken unfair advantage of.
Before he died, my Dad fretted that he hadn't left us a fortune to share among ourselves. But as letters streamed in from his accountant, lawyers, business associates, and friends praising his life, I couldn't have felt richer.
Ellen Pollak Wilson
Ellen Pollak Wilson is releasing her first solo CD, Songs of Ascent, music intended to uplift, heal, and inspire. As a singer, teacher, writer, and coach, Ellen endeavors to help others to find their own voice in all matters. Visit her website at: www.ellenmwilson.com
I came across an excellent book recently called 'Practicing Conscious Living and Dying' which I thought some of our readers might find inspirational. Written by Annamaria Hemingway and published in January 2008, this collection of powerful and thought-provoking stories illustrates how each of the individuals concerned has come to understand death... They teach us that the preciousness of life must be lived with a sense of purpose and meaning, as a celebration of existence.
In the author's own words: "It is my sincerest wish that all those who read this book will find it inspirational and spiritually uplifting, that it will provide hope and strength to the dying and the bereaved, and offer compelling evidence for the possible continuum of consciousness after the death of our physical body."
Personally, I found it wonderful, beautiful, enormously interesting and endlessly fascinating... high praise indeed, but it really did fill me with hope and inspiration. Click here for more details.
Lots of people are writing in to say how much they love our inspirational movie (thank you!) and that they are finding it helpful at a tough time. Like many people, I am a great fan of finding comfort and inspiration in these kinds of movies, so it's a great honor to have had our movie included on the Inspirational Videos and Tributes page on the very talented Steve Brunkhorst's website. Why not have a look - these are uplifting, comforting movies about all kinds of things...
We all need to feel good - and when you're grieving, sometimes feeling good can seem like a dim and distant memory. From time to time, we all need a helping hand, an outside stimulus to make us forget ourselves and what we are going through.
So from now on, I'm going to start adding inspirational resources to the blog. The first one I've chosen is the site Joy To The World, which has quite a few joyful, inspirational movies to choose from at www.joy-tothe-world.com/Inspirational_Movie.html (scroll down the page to see the selection). The creator, Jane, shares my philosophy of finding peace, joy and comfort in nature; may you too find comfort in her movies! Jane says:
The quote below, from Deepak Chopra, says it all for me! My website is intended to be a celebration of everything that is joyful in life.
We are travellers on a cosmic journey – star-dust, swirling and dancing in the eddies and whirlpools of infinity. Life is eternal. But the expressions of life are ephemeral, momentary, transient. Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, once said,
“This existence of ours is as transient as autumn clouds. To watch the birth and death of beings is like looking at the movements of a dance. A lifetime is like a flash of lightening in the sky, rushing by like a torrent down a steep mountain.”
We have stopped for a moment to encounter each other, to meet, to love, to share. This is a precious moment, but it is transient. It is a little parenthesis in eternity. If we share with caring, lightheartedness and love, we will create abundance and joy for each other. And then this moment will have been worthwhile.
Deepak Chopra ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success.’
Lucie Storrs The creator behind The Light Beyond, Lucie lives in Italy's wonderful region of Tuscany. This project combines her two passions: the world wide web and helping lots of people!
Nancy Adams Nancy is one of our wonderful writers, drawing upon her own extensive experience of grief and loss. She lives in a truly idyllic, inspiring location at the heart of a forest in Michigan.
You...? Why not share YOUR story with all our readers, so that others can learn and grow from your own experiences of grief and loss? Simply click on one of the Contact Us buttons to send us your story.