How to Turn Grief into Joy
By RobinRenee Bridges
I was with my daddy when he died. Excuse me, I was with my daddy when his spirit left his body. I drove him to the emergency room because he was having chest pains. He said that they weren't too bad, and his color was good. He was still walking.
In fact, Daddy walked into the cubicle in the ER and hopped up on the gurney. Almost as quickly, he hopped off saying, "Whew, doggie! Feels like somebody's got a knife in my back, right between my shoulder blades." Daddy said it with a great big grin on his face. That's just the way my Daddy was.
A few minutes later his aorta ruptured spilling his lifeblood into his chest cavity. His lips quivered briefly as he said, "I'll see you in a little while."
The moment his spirit was free from his body, an ethereal serenity bathed the room and flowed out into the bustling hallway. The emergency department took on a surreal silence, as all motion and sound seemed to slow"then to stop. I was embraced by a joyous warmth so real that it was overwhelmingly palpable. We were no longer separate. Daddy's spirit enfolded and permeated my being.
Is there any way to retain your loved one's presence while navigating the valley of grief? Yes, there are some things you can do right away.
First, suspend your doubting mind. Whether you look at life after death spiritually, or logically as the natural culmination of evolution, or through the evidence of quantum physics, you come up with the same answers. Probabilities indicate that life continues after the death of the physical body.
Second, understand that your loved one is still here with you. Don't say, "Yeah, right! Suspend your doubts. Go somewhere quiet; somewhere you can be alone, even if it's a closet. Close your eyes. Get still inside, and just stand there, or sit there and breathe. Give yourself a few minutes to calm yourself. And then imagine how you would feel with your loved one standing right beside you'so close that you can hear him breathe and feel his body heat. Pretend, if you will.
Your loved one has not "passed away anywhere. In reality he's closer to you than your heartbeat. There's a thin veil between heaven and earth. Your loved one has simply passed through that veil. S/he can still hear you, see you, and touch you, but your physical body is a barrier to your being able to perceive your loved one.
Third, when you're quiet inside, ask him something simple like "Are you here with me?"
Ahh HAH! Where did that "Yes come from? Inside your head? Well sort of, but there's more to it than that. Psychologists say that we all have an inner child and an internalized parent within us. In a similar way you have internalized your loved one. So what you hear are partly the characteristics of your loved one that you have internalized and partly the still living, growing, eternal character of your loved one surrounding you in the spirit world.
The body is a mechanical device powered by chemistry. The living, thinking, loving, remembering, planning, and dreaming part of you is LIFE, and it is eternal. Life cannot be destroyed. At the death of the mechanical, chemical body the eternal living consciousness of you is immediately aware of a sublime freedom. You are capable of seeing your spirit body for the first time. And it is exquisite.
Jesus called the afterlife "heaven." He said that it's "at hand (Matthew 4:17). He also said that it's "within (Luke 17:21). He called it "paradise." Jesus told the dying thief on the cross that he would be with Him in paradise today (Luke 23:43). That clearly indicates that there is no waiting period between life and the afterlife. Your loved one is in heaven, or paradise, right now. And that paradise is "at hand and "within you."
The New Testament says that we have a natural body and a spiritual body (1 Corinthians 15:44). It says that the things we can see are temporary, but the things we cannot see are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). Jesus referred to the spiritual body when He said that people who live in Him and believe in Him would never die but have everlasting life.
As for the logical culmination of evolution, logic requires that there be an afterlife. Nature naturally selects the characteristics of living creatures. Qualities that insure survival are chosen over other qualities. If life ends at the grave, why have humans evolved so many qualities that they have little or no use for on earth? Altruism, charity, honor, patience, fidelity, etc. have little value in a society where materialism, war, and self-interest prevail.
Humility and service do not generate financial gain or the acquisition of power. They are a handicap, if anything. Yet, they persist as character traits in the majority of people. Man is driven more by abstractions like love, loyalty, accomplishment, curiosity and discovery than by simple biological directives. Why?
An unborn child develops arms, legs, eyes, and lungs because it will need them to function in the world into which it will be born. Man develops compassion, devotion, generosity, hope, understanding, and trustworthiness (to name but a few) because he will need them to function in the world into which he will be born when he leaves the physical body.
And in the same way that an unborn child is not separate from the world of his family, we are not separate from the loved ones that have passed through the veil.
And what if the quantum physicists are right? What if we really do live in a world with multiple dimensions"a holographic world? The mystics and the prophets have insisted that this world is an illusion for millennia. A holographic universe would mean that our bodies, our houses, our cities, and even the stars above us are a mirage. Those dimensions are all around us as the physicists are discovering, and those dimensions really do influence our world. What if other dimensions are the "mansions that Jesus referred to?
Your loved one is still here with you. He's part of a dimension that you cannot perceive"yet. You are a spiritual creature having a human experience. You have spiritual senses that you can use to communicate with and become aware of your loved ones in heaven. It's done through focused prayer and meditation. In Matthew 5:4 Jesus said, "Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted." That's His promise. Believe it. Experience it.
© Copyright 2005 Robbin Renee Bridges
About The Author
RobinRenee Bridges has been a chaplain and officer in The Sanctuary for more than thirty years. She is the author of "A Bridge of Love between Heaven and Earth: Self-Induced Contact in the Afterlife."