Coping With the Death of a Loved One: the Least Used Resource

Unknown to the general public as well as the mass media, millions of people mourning the death of a loved one have an experience in which they are convinced they have received a sign or a message from the deceased or a divine being. However, mourners are often reluctant to widely discuss the event out of fear they will be labeled negatively and lose valuable support in their journey to reinvest in life.

These encounters have nothing to do with a psychic; they are not invoked, but occur spontaneously.

The word spontaneously is a key understanding. As many who have had the experience testify, they were not thinking about the loved one, yet the experience came seemingly out of nowhere—and from an outside source. It was not something manufactured by the unconscious mind.

Of critical importance is the fact that the experience brings solace and comfort and often opens up a whole new level of awareness reconnecting the mourner to their spiritual roots and a new relationship with the deceased.

Regrettably, some family members, counselors (including psychiatrists), and friends of the mourner often dismiss the experience as an artifact of grief, the product of a mind that cannot accept the death of the loved one. Historically, the scientific community has commonly dismissed the contact as an illusion or hallucination. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In general, people who report the experience are as sound and sane as anyone could be. They know they have been given a gift of love and caring to assist in coping with the transition of dealing with the massive changes associated with accepting death. It becomes a significant resource in establishing a healthy continuing bond with the deceased and reduces the perception of isolation so often felt.

Having studied the phenomena for over 25 years, I have chronicled fifteen different types of contacts and labeled them Extraordinary Experiences (EEs). Other researchers have called them after-death communications, while those who receive them often say they are spiritual experiences. They range from sensing the presence or hearing the voice of the loved one to smelling a particular scent or having an incredible dream in which the loved one says he or she is okay. Sometimes a third person is involved, often a child, who is given the experience and then passes it on to the primary mourner. Unusual natural signs of rainbows or the behavior of butterflies, pets, or wildlife as well as the unexpected movement of pictures or objects associated with the deceased have also proved meaningful.

These communications can be used in a variety of ways in coping with loss. For example, memories are important grieving tools and EEs provide a rich network of images for positive recall. They can also be used as a symbol to motivate the mourner to adapt to the changes imposed by loss or as reminder to work on new skills or routines needed in their life without the beloved.

If you have had an Extraordinary Experience, or if you are helping someone cope with the loss of a loved one, make every effort to become aware of the nature of these mysterious gifts, the wide variety of meanings they hold, and the resource they can become for everyone. Love truly lives on and the death of a loved one never means the relationship dies. Our deceased loved ones will always be part of our lives.

You can learn more about EEs by going to or or reading some of the books and articles that have been written about this most helpful phenomenon. Use or assist others in using this untapped resource for the rich opportunity it provides in keeping the memory of a deceased loved one vibrant and alive throughout the healing process and beyond.

Source by Louis LaGrand, Ph.D.

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