If you light a lamp for someone, it will brighten your own path.
The Buddha

Avoiding the Pain

There are many ways bereaved people try not to address the pain of a loss. One way is literally to run away. Some people change their surroundings by taking an extended vacation and some may even move to another home or city. Running away may provide some temporary relief, but no matter how hard they run, they are never able to outrun their pain – it is part of them so it is always present.

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Working Through the Pain

Ironically, the first major step in working through the pain of a loss is to acknowledge that the loss has created pain and that we are going to proactively do something about it. What constitutes the pain and how to work through it are as distinctive as the individual experiencing it. There are no simple formulas or how-to books to refer to. As I have written so many times, every situation, relationship, and death is unique. Does the pain of this loss include loneliness where it didn’t before? Are there feelings of guilt, anger, anxiety, etc? Is there a crisis involving the meaning of life? It is only through careful, thoughtful, inward consideration of our particular situation that we are able to understand fully where we are in our pain and what we need.

Read more: Working Through the Pain