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As a caregiver, if you can begin the grieving process during the challenges of caregiving, emotionally and mentally you will be better equipped to handle the plethora of emotions as your loved one's passing occurs. No matter how much preparation you do, there still is the shock that you may experience after their transition and it can take hold of you in more ways then you can imagine. I am not negating the experience. However, generally speaking, it is as if the days become anticlimactic because just as quickly as you were thrown into the role, you are no longer responsible in the same manner. Since there is no right or wrong way to grieve, it is good to understand the various emotions you may be currently experiencing with regard to the passing of your loved one.

If you have already begun working through your anticipated emotions, it becomes a little more easy for you to accept and embrace the passage, while still mourning even more, grieving and healing. Having the tools to help you understand these emotions and experiences awaken you to newer experiences that help you to keep grounded and in touch with the present moment for both yourself as well as your loved one. These are choices that you have. By choosing to open to these processes and experiences, you leave yourself more open to your grieving, your growth, your healing and your opening to love for yourself. As a result your loved one and others around you also benefit.

Prior to preparing to go into a peaceful state of inner peace, read the following questions without feeling that you must have an answer. Merely by reading them, your soul will understand the intent behind your thoughts and many answers will be revealed to you in your restful state.

1. How do I deal with death? How does my loved one feel about death as well as other family members and friends?
2. God or our higher power promises eternal life, but this involves trust and faith. What are your beliefs? Your loved ones? Other family members and friends? How difficult is this to do as your loved one is near death?
3. As your loved one nears death, your most predominant feeling was/is.....
4. To me, death means.....
5. My greatest fear about death is....
6. When I think about my loved one's death, what thoughts do I have about my own life and death? How am I not living my own life to it's very fullest?
7. What part does guilt play in my emotions? Do I have confidence and respect for all that I have done and am doing?

The questions below offer you the opportunity to get in touch with death and dying and grieving. Take time to center yourself in your own energy by sitting comfortably or even lying down. Begin to breathe in deeply. On each inhale, breathe in love and light. As you exhale breathe out all the worry, the doubts, your fears, your concerns. Continue to repeat this process until you reach a peaceful state and you find your mind stilling in your peace without any distracting thoughts. As your mind is still, you might choose to imagine what it would be like as the time of passage nears and let your inner guide take you where you need to go.

If you can do this two or three times within a week or so, you will find yourself moving into a more accepting or shifted perception of your beliefs, opening you to a newer way of thinking and believing. Be gentle and nurturing to yourself as you write all that you experience in your journals.


©GAIL R. MITCHELL 10/14/99

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