Learning through experience is sometimes the best way. If things don’t happen to you early in life, how will you be able to cope with them later in life? We all wish for our children to have happy uneventful lives, but is this the best thing to want to have happen for them? If we could insure that the rest of their lives would stay this way, then that would be ideal and they wouldn’t have had to deal with unpleasant things.
Learning through experience is sometimes skipped by people in some areas of life. For example, a woman meets the man of her dreams in high school, they have a long and happy marriage with nothing happening to upset the applecart while they were together. Then one of them dies and the other one does not know how they will get along without the other. There was always someone else to rely on to do the things that he or she didn’t learn how to do. What happens in this worst case scenario? Someone has to cook, do laundry, clean house, pay bills, and deal with the unpleasant details of planning a funeral or administering an estate (especially if there are unexpected expenses or unpaid debts belonging to the departed).
Learning through experience often seems to be the hardest way to learn. There is a price to pay but whether it is money, pain, loss, or sorrow, it usually leaves the learner with some new usually hard-earned skills.
It is a sad time of the year to lose a loved one. It can make succeeding holiday seasons unhappy ones. Those who have departed probably would not have wanted to ruin the holidays for you. Rather the holidays should be a time to remember lost ones with warm memories of times past when you were blessed with their presence.
It is unfortunate, but true, that we can’t have everyone to be with us our entire lifetime. Some people are with us only for a short time. It is often a gift that they were with us or we were with them that long. Often we can not predict when and where we will leave them or they will leave us. When it happens, it is a shock to the system and we are often left numb.
Sometimes loved ones hang on long after they are ready to leave. They do so to protect loved ones. They need to see someone one last time or someone needs to see them one last time or in the case of an impending birth, they want to be there and experience the birth of a child or grandchild.
The timing of a death is sometimes, but not always, chosen by the person who is leaving this earth. The person or persons who are left behind are often not aware of this and may feel rejected or guilty in response to the passing. The deceased consciously or unconsciously chooses the time of death and and who will or will not be there. This decision is usually made with the best of intentions, but often those surviving don’t know about them and can misinterpret the circumstances surrounding the death.
Sudden deaths, violent deaths, accidental deaths, are the hardest to deal with and can lead to potentially life destroying grief for those who are left behind. Those with a spiritual path can sometimes cope better with these things than those who don’t. Those who have a spiritual path, must realize how hard it is for those who don’t and sympathize with them and not make it harder on them by saying that they should have been more spiritual.
Being thankful at the holiday season for all those souls who have touched my soul and who will touch my soul in the future. Although I may have had you for what seemed like such a short time, I would rather have had you for the limited time I did than not to have had you at all. Love you, Carol, little Jennifer, and baby-to-be Polnow. You are always in my heart.
Be very careful dealing with death and children. From many hours of play and drawing therapy, I have found that children often get some strange ideas about bad things that they have had to face that they have not faced before as very often their frame of reference is different from adults.
For example, when talking about a family member who had died, a child thought that at the funeral, they would see a body without a head. He or she thought that since the soul had departed, the head would be missing.
Children often do not get the whole picture and/or do not think that death is permanent. They often only get part of what they are told or they may interrupt it differently than an adult would.
Drawings by children who have faced the death of someone they know or who are sick or injured and are facing their own death often allow the therapist to determine what is going on in the child’s mind. Drawings by terminally ill children often show that they are aware of their own coming passing. Those with a spiritual bent often are reassured when a child demonstrates knowledge of an afterlife or heaven and possibly of angels, God, Jesus, or a loved person or animal that has passed on before them.
It is best when helping these children that you determine what questions they have before giving them answers they are not yet ready for or wouldn’t understand or don’t need. It is best to fit explanations to the child’s point of view, not the adult’s.
History can benefit from including other points of view than just that of the writer. This is where being involved in debate as an activity in school (where people practice taking both sides of an issue) can be a help to a person going out into the world. It also helps to have the experience of living in a certain society that is not your own especially if it is in another country. If you can’t do that then taking a job that you have never done before especially one that you perceive as undesirable or training for a career which involves a “boot camp” experience, can change your mind about a lot of things. You might find out that people in these types of jobs or careers have some very valuable qualities that they develop by working in these fields. Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross (a psychiatrist who pioneered in the area of death and dying) once spoke to a woman in a hospital whose job was considered a necessary adjunct to patient care, but not requiring any medical training or nursing skills, and found that this woman had a profoundly moving way of being there for dying patients which Dr. Kubler-Ross deeply admired.
When working with people as individuals or groups, taking the perspective of an academic studying them from an objective stance and viewing them as something to be studied, but not people who have everyday “normal” lives, can leave out certain variables that are crucial to the understanding of how and why these people do things. I used to think (maybe I learned this in school) that people in ancient cultures were primitive compared to our civilization now. I shuttered at the thought of living in such barbarous times. As I learned more and gained more perspective, I found that people in those cultures had valuable information that was lost over time and would be valuable to us in the present. Also some of them had a more peaceful giving nature than most of us have now.