Mind Games: Grief

By Paula Bianchi –

This is one of the toughest mind games we’ll play in our lives. It’s because it comes in many shapes and forms. The most extreme is the grief we feel after losing someone close to us. Just this one example comes in many different degrees, depending on the person whose experiencing it. All of us are so different in our thoughts and views, so it goes without saying that we all experience grief in our own unique way. It also makes us face our own mortality because we all wonder when and how we’ll die.

When we hear about a celebrity dying or about the passing of an old school friend, what’s the first thing we usually ask? How did they die? Why? Because we’re always wondering what our exit point will be like. If we all had our way, we would die in our beds at night while we’re asleep, or we’d die doing what we love the most, but this is life and it always doesn’t work out that way. That’s why death itself is a tough mind game.

Doomsday preppers plan and get ready for catastrophes because they’ve decided they’re not going to die that way. Some people may choose to never set foot on a plane because they don’t want to fall out of the sky and die. Others will do everything they can to keep their bodies healthy and fit to avoid an early death, and so on. Even when we do all we can, there’s no written guarantee on how long we’ll be here. But when you really think about it, death is the easy part no matter how it happens.

The hardest part is for those we leave behind, who sit in sadness, and mourn our loss. Some can be inconsolable never allowing themselves to accept their new reality because it’s not what they wanted. They only want what they had and may refuse any help offered because it means accepting, what is in their minds, the unacceptable. Can you see how this person’s mind game looks?  

Now at the other end of this spectrum, you have a person like me whose parents wished to graduate from this earth. They prayed for death, and welcomed it when it finally came. They were very open with me on what they wanted, and I listened with love and compassion. I shared with them all the stuff I learned from the books I read about the afterlife over the years, and they eagerly listened. Without knowing it at the time, I set up ways to still have a relationship with them after they passed, and they’ve followed through with flying colors every time I’ve asked for a sign and even more. (But that’s another story.)

I played my mind game by accepting their loss as something they desperately wanted. Don’t get me wrong. I cried and mourned their death, but I accepted that it was something they wanted and prayed for. I imagine them being on vacation having the greatest adventure in the most beautiful place I’ll ever see, and they’re young again. I can close my eyes and see them dancing. Living life again. Vibrant, happy, and carefree. I can feel them all around me. It’s electrical sometimes. If I’m really quiet, I can hear their voices in my head guiding me, helping me with my dream of being a published writer. It’s a great feeling, and I’m tuned into it because I took the time to open myself up spiritually. That’s what meditation can do for you.

Throughout my life time, I’ve seen deaths by accident, suicide and murder. I believe these kinds of deaths are the most traumatic for the people who were left behind. They’re left with so many unanswered questions, and they play the ‘should of’, ‘could of’, and ‘would of’ mind games, as well as the ‘if only’ game, in their heads. People have a hard time accepting the loss of a loved one or friend after one of these events. Some may accept and move on, while others get trapped in a terrible mind game of their own making. They get stuck in a constant loop of negative dialog in their heads which sometimes makes it impossible for them to finally accept the passing and move on with their lives.

It’s hard letting go because to do so means you’re accepting a life without them, which the mere thought of is unthinkable. But here’s the thing, when you’re so lost in your grief to the point that it becomes the everything in your life, your energy level can drop so low in your bar putting you in jeopardy of anything negative. Sickness, both mental and physical, can take its toll on you. People can take advantage of you in your weakened state and take things from you with or without you knowing. It’s hard to accept the unacceptable, but if you can’t find a way to raise your energy, you’ll never be open to the messages your loved ones are trying send.

From the moment they die, they’re trying to let you know they’re okay. Just imagine what it’s like for them to be able to see you, but you can’t see or sense them. If you knew that your extreme grief could hurt them, would you change how you’re grieving? I don’t say that lightly because it’s very true. They can be so worried for you that they may stick around instead of moving on and forward with their new life because you can’t or won’t let them go. That’s not okay. We can’t be that selfish.

When a friend or loved one goes on a vacation or moves away, we wish them the best and ask them to keep in touch. We don’t want to say or do anything that might ruin their trip or new life. We need to do the same thing for those we’ve lost. Send them well wishes and love, continue to talk to them and share your problems because they will help you in any way that they can. Most importantly, remember we will see them again, and they’ll be eagerly waiting to pick us up.  

The other kind of death I’ve personally dealt with is a natural death by sickness or old age. My grandparents, father-in-law, and parents all died by natural causes, but that doesn’t make this kind of death any easier for those who are experiencing it. Sure, they may have some instant closure because they don’t have to ‘see’ their loved one suffer anymore, and that can be a big relief.

The simple act of waking up in the morning becomes unbearable when we’re dealing with a loss. It’s the learning how to live without the person you love that gets us all tied up in knots. Why? Because, we don’t want to do it. We don’t want to live without them, so we hold on to them in any way we can. Our mind games, after we lose someone, can certainly get the best of us. It’s a constant battle in our heads. We beat ourselves up over stuff that was totally out of our control. We become our own worst enemies.

Grief is a process, and we all deal with it in our own way, but it’s okay to go get help if you’re feeling overwhelmed. A therapist helps you organize your thoughts instead of letting them have a life of their own. They point out the thoughts that can be all consuming and teach you to think differently about them which, in turn, helps you to let these self-defeating thoughts go.

Now grief by death, isn’t the only kind of grieving we experience while we’re here on earth. We can feel grief from the end of any kind of relationship, like a marriage, with siblings or family members, and friends. We can grieve the loss of our job. Really anything you can lose; you can grieve for. The loss of your house and belongings from a fire or natural disaster. Dealing with a sickness that changes your body, can make you grieve for the body you used to have. All these things fuel your mind games.

The key to getting the upper hand in your mind games is acceptance. To not accept out of stubbornness, only hurts you. You will never move forward until you accept the things you don’t want to. Once you can accept, you can start to plan what comes next for you and your life. You have to free yourself from the muck your thoughts have created. We have to remember to be responsible with the thoughts we’re creating. We should be lifting ourselves up; not tearing ourselves down. Don’t be your own worst enemy.

When I find myself at the point of accepting any given situation or thing, especially if it’s something that’s totally out of my control, I sit and recite, “The Serenity Prayer” and it goes like this: 

God, Grant me…

The Serenity to accept the things I cannot change…

The Courage to change the things I can…

And the Wisdom to know the difference. Amen.

This prayer has been my biggest asset in my mind games. I use it whenever I have to accept what I don’t want to accept. It would be during my recitation (meditation) of this prayer, that answers to how I was perceiving the situation would come through. I’ve won many of my mind games with this play. Try it; you’ll like it.

In my next Mind Games article, I’ll talk about the mind game of regret. Would love to hear how you like my blog so far. Please feel free to leave me a comment or two. Bye for now.

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