Discovering Meaning Beyond The Surface During Our Grief Journeys

Defining My Boundaries

Some time ago, I went to the funeral service of a person from whom I had grown apart during the last several years of my life. I made the conscious decision to distance myself from this individual because I did not agree with the way that he chose to relate to me and other people in his world. Our relationship was interfering with my serenity; I did what I needed to do for myself. I have no regrets; it is a choice that I would make again given the same circumstances. 

Soul Lessons

“When there is no where else to turn, turn inward. Enter into the sacred silence of your soul and ask for healing, guidance and personal peace.”

Michaiel Bovenes

During the service, many great and positive memories of his life and times were shared, memories of his positive qualities, and his impact on his friends and family. I didn't give any thought to the conflict that contributed to my original decision to distance myself from him. I found myself focusing on his soul qualities, because after his physical death, that is what remained. Sometimes it is in death, that we understand the true soul of a person. There is no doubt in my mind that his soul and its unique characteristics will live on in eternity. Perhaps someday his soul will decide to inhabit another physical body to continue to learn and evolve. Maybe it already has happened.

Honoring The Right to Be Human

I believe that we are capable of seeing the true soul of a person while he/she is alive, particularly if there is an instantaneous connection, shared values and acceptance. There will be many instances, when this will not occur.  After all we are human and there is an inherent imperfection in that. I still have very strong reactions to individuals whose qualities strike a nerve. In those situations, I can be quick to judge their actions. When this occurs, I strive to step back and examine what may be triggering those feelings.   If we can honor our right to be human, we will continue to learn from our experiences without self-deprecation and continue to evolve spiritually. Adopting this perspective allows us not only to share what we have learned about ourselves with others, but enables us to view being human as part of our continued spiritual experience.

Giving Thanks

Recently, I expressed my thanks, in prayer, to this person for the lessons that   his death taught me. There was a time where I would not have acknowledged the contributions of an individual with whom I had been at odds. However, since my 18-year –old daughter Jeannine’s death in 2003, I have learned that everything isn’t always as it appears to be and that, to quote a line from a Wallflowers song: “Behind every mask lies the face of another.” If we have the courage to look beyond the surface, we may discover that the face of pure beauty lies within.

It is only to the individual that a soul is given- Albert Einstein


About the Author
I became a parent who experienced the death of a child after my daughter Jeannine died of cancer on 3/1/03 at the age of 18. I am a retired addiction professional and am also an adjunct professor in the psychology and psychology-child life departments at Utica College. In 2007, I established Bootsy and Angel Books, LLC( The mission of Bootsy and Angel Books is to provide information, support, and services to individuals and families who have experienced the death of a child or other catastrophic losses. I have presented workshops at national conferences of The Compassionate Friends since 2008 and at gatherings of the Bereaved Parents of the USAin 2009 , 2011 and 2012. I have been a keynote speaker for national gathering of the Bereaved Parents of the USA in both 2011 and 2015. I am also the chapter leader for The Compassionate Friends of the Mohawk Valley. I have contributed articles to Living with Loss Magazine ,We Need Not Walk Alone, Hello Grief and Recovering the Self Journal. I have co-authored two books with Linda Findlay of Mourning Discoveries on navigating through grief during the holidays and pet loss. I am a contributing writer for the Open to Hope Foundation and have also appeared on Healing the Grieving Heart and the Open to Hope Television show.. I am also a featured speaker, workshop presenter and coach for Aspire Place( You can also find me on Facebook at:
Grief In Action