Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Unusual Comforts in Grief: keep your opinions to yourself

Unusual comforts in grief take on many forms
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  • Widows wear their husband's clothing
  • a daughter commences a daily diet of jumbo sized DQ ice cream Blizzards
  • some mourners report an increase in sexual desire and activity
  • And then there are the quiet legions who attempt to contact the dead via psychics, mediums, and ghost hunters.

20% of respondents in a Slate survey of 8,000 grieving men, women and late teens, reported an experience of seeing their loved one "alive." That is a pretty big number, don't you think? I consider it unfortunate that, as the Slate survey analysis reports, "many health care professionals consider it a symptom of mental disorder."

Why wouldn't a grieving person seek the comfort of the deceased loved one? 93% of survey respondents noted "interacting with others is generally awkward at best, and painful and isolating at worst." 

Common reasons for paranormal contact

  • Wanting the blessing, guidance, or instruction of the deceased for decisions being made 
  • Wanting forgiveness or to deal with unresolved issues 
  • Wanting answers to sudden, unexplained deaths such as murder or suicide 
  • Wanting to communicate if you couldn't get to their deathbed for a goodbye visit 
  • Wanting confirmation that there is an afterlife
  • Wanting to know the loved one "is okay"
  • Wanting to provide an opportunity for the deceased to express themselves
Catherine had gone to psychics before the death of her son, Mark. "I think most of them are phony" she shared. "You can tell when someone is tuned in, or just watching your face and body language for hints." 

Mark's death was unexpected. He was well liked from coast to coast, making friends wherever the Marines and subsequent pursuits took him. 

"Picking out an urn, my other kids tried to steer me to something else, but I was drawn to a lovely blue style engraved with butterflies," Catherine explained and then chuckled. "I wasn't too shocked when one psychic relayed 'Mom, hang my dogtogs on that girly urn!'"

She described attending a packed theater in Detroit, where a well known psychic sat onstage channeling messages from deceased relatives. The rapt, yearning audience members lit up when they recognized expressions, references, and events. "If they come through, the things they state are real; you immediately recognize how your family member spoke--sometimes in colorful language! I feel like he's standing there talking to me."

Immeasurable comfort

The expression, "absence makes the heart grow fonder," presumes a happy reunion. One of the hardest aspects of grief is the sometimes-slow realization that there will never be another conversation, hug, moment shared. Catherine finds not only comfort but counsel through successful psychic encounters.
  
"It helps me to know that he is alive in the afterlife. He's not here on earth but he is someplace. And wherever that is, whatever comes after--he's well."

Catherine shared that her son stated many times that he didn't want his mom to die before him. Though they did not live close to each other, Mark drew great strength from his mother's unconditional love; his contact tries to return some strength. "He's helping me get through the grieving; he wanted me to not hurt. 
Mark told me:  'You don't need to move on but you need to move forward.' 
"That's my Marine son, talking," Catherine laughed. "I want to definitely stay in touch, but I tell him:  I'M GONNA BE OKAY."

Non-believers

[Source]
Catherine admits and accepts that not everyone believes in psychics and mediums contacting the dead. "The majority of people around me, believe me. Some don't; one family member told me: 'you're all crazy,'"

The Condolence Coach explored this topic without bias or personal experience. In response to human longing and pain, the internet is full of do-it-yourself-advice, testimonies, forums and ads. No good can come of judging another person's grief journey, but good can come from supportiveness. Consider these thoughts in conversation or a note:
  • "It's hard for me to grasp but I can see it makes you feel better."
  • "Tell me more about it."
  • "Goodbyes are very hard, but this seems to help you hold him in your heart."
  • "It's nice to remember that I can talk to someone I love."
Thank you for caring!

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