The Other Side of Sadness

Don’t cry when the sun is gone, because the tears won’t let you see the stars. 
Violata Parra, Chilean folklorist, early 20th century.

Met Death last month.

I asked, “What brings you here?”
He said, “My job.”
“But don’t you think it’s a bit too early.”
“Well maybe, but who cares.”
“I do.”
“Who are you?”
“A wife, a mother.”
He curled his lip and sneered, “Is that all you are?”
“Uh…. Yes, that’s all I want to be.”
“I’ll give you a new identity.”
“And what is that?”
“…. A rebel.”
“But who do I rebel against? You?”
“But I’ll never win.”
“Trust me, you’ll never lose either.”

And he left, his job done.

Facebook entry of a young wife recently widowed.


A close relative died young last month. He lost the war to leukemia, leaving behind a young wife and a five year old daughter. The daughter still goes around asking and searching for her Dad. She believes he has gone away on a long journey.

Having watched him through birth, childhood and adulthood, I find my own emotions swing between a connection severing anguish and a “out of mind, out of sight” normalcy. Sometimes when I see myself normalising thus, guilt returns in waves. Am I a betrayer, is my self-centeredness making me forget a loved one? Or could it be that as I reach out to others in my normalcy, I initiate my inner healing?

I read the Facebook entry again. Is there some coping mechanism here too? Is it a way to confront and face the very intimate and intense feelings the widow holds? Could this creative piece of writing be a vent through which she in fact is acknowledging Death?

My thoughts shift to that path breaking book, The Other Side of Sadness authored by George A. Bonanno. Dr. Bonanno refutes the widely held belief that a surviving family member needs to necessarily go through several stages of Denial, Anger, Bargaining and Hurt before he or she can reach the healing stage of Acceptance. The good doctor contends that the person in grief would in fact find a surprising inner storehouse of resiliency that would take him or her to the shores of Normalcy. He further maintains that “the natural sadness that actually follows a death is not a thick soup of tears and depression but a fluctuation that is nothing short of spectacular, the prevalence of joy during these times can in fact be striking.”


As I muse on Dr. Bonanno’s thesis, I begin to see that while there can be no common pathway through grief nor a pre-determined structure for the grieving process, we may indeed share common responses. The Facebook entry for the widow and my periods of normalcy could just be the catharsis the doctor has written about. With this thought my emotional pendulum swings again. I understand the need to acknowledge my present emotion of normalcy just as I feel the urge to shout out to my widowed relative.

“Feel what you feel without embarrassment. It’s okay to be angry, to yell, to cry. It’s equally okay to laugh, to find your joy and let go when you are ready.”
In learning………..                                                                            Shakti Ghosal

Acknowledgement: The Other Side of Sadness: What the new Science of Bereavement tells us about Life after Loss by George A. Bonanno Ph.D, September 2009.

Author: Shakti Ghosal

* A PCC Credentialed Leadership Coach. * A qualified engineer and a PGDM (Faculty Gold medalist) from IIM Bangalore. * More than three decades of industry experience spanning Engineering, Maintenance, Projects, Consumer durables, Supply Chains, Aviation and Tourism in the Gulf region and India. * Top level management positions to drive business development, strategy, alliances all around the globe. * A visiting faculty at the IIMs. *A passion to envision trends & disseminate Leadership incubation globally. * . +91 - 9051787576

167 thoughts on “The Other Side of Sadness”

    1. Glad you liked it . Reading your blog, my mind went back to this post of mine and that is the reason why I shared it.

      Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment. I appreciate.


  1. Shakti,

    My condolences to you and your family.

    This is a difficult topic for most people to speak about, but I am glad that you have found a measure of understanding by writing this post. In truth, I believe being able to articulate and voice emotions is the key to healing. Whether they make us feel guilt or not, we need a ‘safe’ environment to say how we feel. I think you were able to do just that in this post.
    Peace to you my brother

  2. Hello Shakti – I am new to your blog and this is one of the first pieces I have read. My heart goes out to you and your family at this time of loss and sadness. I find your writing quite exceptional and thank you for articulating that which is so often left unexpressed. Once the initial shock and grief have subsided in those of us not directly connected to the beloved who has departed this life, it is easy to find ourselves doing “business as usual.” Then we realize that there is nothing going on “as usual” in the home of those whose loss is more acute. And as you so frankly state — the tendency to feel guilty creeps into our minds when we notice our joy in the contrast to their grief. Thank you for shining your light on this topic and allowing us to learn, to grow and to re-examine this topic that touches all of us at different points along our life’s journey. Blessings, Alia

    1. Hello Alia,
      At the outset, thank you for being here and enriching this space with your thoughtful comment and a lovely acknowledgement.

      All life is programmed to optimise its own existence and I guess the aspects of ‘business as usual’ and ‘joy’ are coping mechanisms to further that end. It is societal pressures and our own beliefs of how we need to conform and show up in different situations versus the reality of how we really feel and act, is what creates the stress. What is is. But how many of us hold the wisdom to stop fighting with reality?

      I appreciate you.


  3. I have experienced three deaths in the past year. Each left me feeling more vulnerable. The lesson I take from your writing is that I should embrace the vulnerability, look at it from all directions, then let it go.

    Thanks for your wisdom,

    1. Hi Dennis,

      Yes, vulnerability is the reality so when we fight it, we are fighting reality. Embracing vulnerability, as you say, opens up possibilities to move forward.

      I appreciate you.


    1. Sharing and caring are two sides of the same coin. A common experience, be it of grief or joy, leads us to share. And as we share, we also start to care for the other person and his/her experiences.

      I wish to acknowledge you for bringing in your own personal thoughts and feelings here.


  4. Thanks for sharing death with us, the poetic exchange is truly divine. I agree that “death’s” job is to instill a sense of urgency so we can live purposefully. Death can only enhance life on the soul level. Thought provoking and very well written sir. ☼

    1. The way you have put it resonates. Indeed, “death’s job is to instill a sense of urgency so we can live purposefully” as you say. As we hold this perspective of life and death, we can gain the wisdom of acknowledging Death.

      Loved the comment, thank you.


  5. This was such a moving piece. My belief is that there is some wise and knowing part in each of us that knows, in spite of our grief, that the irterruption will be brief. If we are quiet, we can feel the rush of love that reminds us this is true.

    1. I tend to agree with you. I guess that is how all life is genetically wired. To cope and then move on.This is what I have attempted to convey in my post.

      Thank you for your kind comment. I appreciate.


  6. I’ve found the responses as fascinating as your post – so personal, all so true and relevant in their own way.
    Death is a huge subject which as humans we have to face, a struggle and an acceptance. I’m sorry to hear of a young life lost, I rarely use the word lost as it sounds like we have been careless when often the opposite is true.
    Writing about your conflicting emotions (and sharing them) have to be a positive.

  7. Thanks for visiting my blog–as it led me back to you. What a beautiful thoughtul and thoughtprovoking post. My Mom died in November and every day is still a balancing act. Your insights help.

  8. It is so tragic when someone dies young, and I’m sorry for your and your family’s loss. As an older person, I think about losing my beloved after so many years together. We cannot really call the loss of old people a tragedy, yet coping with that is difficult, too, though a different feeling, I think. We don’t think of what might have been, as we do with a young person. Very poignant post, Shakti.

    1. Yes, loss of a “Near & Dear” one always brings home the thoughts of ‘what could have been’.As I think of this, I realise that at the core of this thought train is my perceived attachment which has got severed. Coping therefore would have to do with shifting our perspective of this attachment. How each one of us does this is really left to us. In the post, I have only tried to articulate what I felt…..

      Thank you for your kind words.


  9. Your post of loss has so much personal feeling and sincere expression. Tears fill my eyes and I am sorry for your loss. We do need to let ourselves go and allow the emotions to happen. We are real and need to remind ourselves. This post is a gentle and touching reminder of how precious our lives really are. Thank you.

    1. Thank you for a great comment. As I reflect on what you said, I wonder how we could our emotions to support and enrich our lives. How could we bring in more “giving” and trusting aspect into our relationships? How could we be more empathetic and mindful?

      I appreciate you.


  10. How very hard it must be to lose one’s young husband, and my heart goes out to that little child, still looking for her daddy. In time she will understand, but for now, she still has hope. The Facebook entry is so poignant, and really touched my very soul, as I remembered the passing of various loved ones in my family over the years. Time does heal, and we are thankfully just left with wonderful memories of their time with us. My condolences to you all.

  11. You express your emotions so beautifully Shakthi. So sorry for your loss.
    I have experienced the loss of loved ones, several times as you would have gathered from my ‘memories’ post. Each time it is the guilt at the quick return of normalcy that tore me apart, as much as the grief. Losing a spouse must be way harder. My deepest condolences to your relative and to all in your family.

  12. My condolences on your loss…it’s so hard! Just yesterday the tidal wave of grief hit me again over the loss in 2011 of our two cocker spaniels. My mind was flooded with little snippets of our times together and how I felt about them and it was quite overwhelming…just love and gratitude and the sense “they should be here…it’s springtime and beautiful” and my husband gently reminding me “they are.” When the waves come in I’ve found it’s just best to let them wash over me, have a good cry and let the tide ebb away until the next time.

    1. Hi Saymber,

      I can well understand what you mean. Amazing is it not how our thoughts are associated to specific triggers in our environment which open the gates for such tidal waves of memories and feelings. I loved the way your husband put it, ” They are…” Through such a perspective comes the healing and our path to make peace with the world.

      Loved your comment.


  13. Shaki, this was so lovely and something I can relate to right now as I’m going to a loss. The writing, the thought and your interpretation is just beautiful — thank you.

  14. A very thoughtful post. Death is so final and that’s what I always find so hard to accept when someone close to me passes away. Here today gone tomorrow … No one more conversation.

    1. If you were to shift the perspective that Death is but a staging post within the continuum of a journey, how would you feel? What if you were to see yorself not static at the post but moving onwards as part of the journey?


      1. this is a really great blog and this blog post is touching and thought provoking. i myself believe that there is more to the journey after death comes for us. i have seen it in my surroundings with the souls that have chosen to not move on. so i agree that death is a staging point.

    2. If you were to shift the perspective that Death is but a staging post within the continuum of a journey, how would you feel? What if you were to see yourself not static at the post but moving onwards as part of the journey?


  15. In spite of 111 comments, I want to express my sorrow that you are grieving the death of a very dear relative. The words of the grieving widow are so moving. A depth expressed so succinctly.

    Then you write about normalcy. The first time that I experienced the possible death of a contemporary, I was floored by the audacity of life to simple carry on! As I went through the motions of living, not one dint appeared in routines of others. Their conversations consisted of the same shallowness.

    I was young and that experience settled deep in my memory. After losing more loved ones and becoming a Hospice Companion, I’ve come to see how those routines and shallow conversations can carry us when we’d otherwise feel only the confusion and negativity within the grieving process. The normalcy of others reminds me that death, like life, is a continuation. Like your beloved’s widow expressed, I want to rebel. I want to kick Love in the belly until it bleeds relief.

    But the rhythms of normalcy do eventually rock us into a fragile sense of acceptance. It keeps evolving, thankfully – from tender beginnings that flit and fall sporadically to a cloak that actually has moments of offered comfort.

    Shakti, this post is simply magnificent – I risk sounding oxymoronic, but it’s not to me.

    1. Hi Amy,

      As always you have made my day with your sheer thought and articulation. As you spoke of the depths of grieving thought and its polarity with the rhythms of normalcy, my understanding of life’s continuum and what it means became better. So thank you!

      What also jumped out at me were the words,”I want to kick Love in the belly until it bleeds relief.” So even in the moment of loss, we win.

      I remain honoured by the generosity of your comment.


  16. Lovely post, shakti, and I am so sorry for your loss. Grief and joy can walk hand in hand after a loss like this. Each has its moment and each is good. Let the tears flow when grief hits you, and let yourself laugh out loud in moments of joy. No guilt. Laughter and joy, even in the midst of sadness, are life affirming. I like to think that the loved one who is no longer here is still finding expression through your moments of both sadness and joy.

  17. Ahh, yet another one that I must follow Beautiful writing. When you can grab my tears through words. I know there is talent there and I can’t not follow~ Thank you for finding my blog and taking the time to read!

  18. My friend, sorry to hear about your relative. My thoughts and prayers to him and his family. That is a sad and tragic loss. No words can ever give a sense of comfort to his wife and child but we can always let them know in thoughts and gestures that they are always in our hearts and best intentions. God will always be on their side, loving, comforting, giving hope and courage. Thanks for sharing this story. I know it’s not easy to talk emotional subjects like this but you did and we all appreciate that. God bless.

  19. Hello Shakti, this is timing, you visiting my blog, thank you, and me finding yours. Your post is wonderul and I am sorry for your loss. I know how you feel as 3 weeks ago I lost my dad and I find it hard to handle grief. I am in between so many emotions and it was so good to read your post about grieving. Even though my dad was 89 and we knew it was going to happen , it was still a sort of surprise when it did. As one commenter here said you will never get used to death even though it is part of life.There is nothing but acceptance in the end, but the gap will always be there and so will our love for the person. Thank you, your post was very helpful to me. Ute

    1. Hi,

      At the outset, do accept my heartfelt condolences for the loss of a parent. I know how this feels having gone through this phase two decades back.Yes, we gain great awareness from Death and in this awareness we find our own balance and perspective.Thank you so much for your lovely comment.



  20. Hi Shakti

    I wanted to comment on the weekend & don’t know if I have or not. My computer has been crashing etc, & it has driven me NUTS. The next chapter is ready to go, but is the computer… !

    I can’t look back over 81 comments to see if I did or not, but this is such an amazing, pensive post. I don’t know I could handle death of SOMEONE WHO MATTERED so well. This post is excellent. Your questions worthwhile, & your searches too.

    1. I can sense the inner beauty of your thoughts. I too remain amazed at the number of comments this post seems to have generated.Reflection on Death is a great resonator I suppose.

      Thank you for your kind words, I appreciate you.


  21. Beautiful, so sorry for your loss, but your acceptance and resolve beyond this is inspiring. It was also spooky for me to come across this this morning because a couple of days ago I wrote a poem about a conversation with death, which I have scheduled for my blog to publsh about a week from now (I need to write and schedule ahead because my job is too busy during the week to post otherwise, I only have time during the week to read others works by and large) My poem is very different to yours, but it did strke me that the theme of death is so universal, and the sense of an intelligence or purpose behind death and its timing is also one we humans tend to share. Your poem, therefore, inspired deeper thoughts than I had originally had about this theme, so thank you!:)

    1. As they say, ” birds of the same feather…..” I do look forward to reading your forthcoming blog and I am sure I too would derive deeper and alternate perspectives. Thank you for your kind words, I truly appreciate you.


      1. Sharmisththa,

        I believe it is not really about looking for positive aspects but more about shifting our perspective about a situation..Easier said than done, I know but one needs to give it a try.



  22. Sorry for your loss Shakti, I hope you all find peace soon enough.

    The loss is harsh, but the memories last forever.

    Believe me: I’ve been there having lost my wife to be to a sudden massive brain embolism about twenty years ago now.

    It still hurts, but I remember all the things we did together and they are precious memories indeed…

    Thanks for visiting my blog – it’s a bit of my daily life written as the thought strikes.

    God Bless and be well!


  23. I’m so sorry for your loss, though it’s time for contemplation and changes. Everything happens for a reason and after this rain, the rainbow will shine for you. Thank you for stopping by my blog and I will be around to read more from you. This post really touched my heart.

  24. I am so sorry for your recent loss. It is a good and healthy thing to write about ones thoughts and feelings during grief. Blessings to you and your family as you work through this time of sadness and loving memories.

    ~ Wendy

  25. Exhale. I found myself holding my breath while reading this post and letting a tear go. Your tone synchronizes with your words, offering us admission into your world. Thank you.
    ~Annie at Biocadence

  26. This (to me) is like a ‘coming out’ with your feelings. Usually so contained. Excellent piece. And the empty chair/bench at the end – powerful.

  27. What a beautiful, heart felt, and genuine post. It is difficult to grieve in a way that people seem to desire. I think everyone grieves in their own personal way and that we should respect the process of each individual. It makes me angry too when the young die too soon. But maybe they have finished what they came to earth to do, so who am I to judge?

    1. You are so right.It is indeed upsetting to see life, holding so much promise, getting extinguished. But what is in this event that really upsets us? Are there aspects of attachment we hold in this emotion? Or are there aspects of disempowerment, of things we cannot control?

      The world and its order of things moves in mysterious ways and much of what happens can be sensed but barely understood. So, as we say, who are we to judge as merely other travellers in the journey?

      Thank you for your kind and thoughtful comment, I appreciate you.


  28. “Feel what you feel without embarrassment. It’s okay to be angry, to yell, to cry. It’s equally okay to laugh, to find your joy and let go when you are ready.”

    Love this post. I don’t think I shall ever let go, but I shall moved forward little by little….

    Beautiful words. Xx

    1. “Letting go” is never easy. Is this not another aspect that distinguishes us as thinking beings? But the mind is such a wonderful asset, we can even train it to be an observer of your own thoughts and feelings.So as and when our mind observes that attachment no longer serves, we could choose to let go. Moving forward little by little is a great intention.

      Awhile back, I had mused on the aspect of” Let go” in another post and I invite you to browse through that.



  29. Too many times I have experienced guilt when people close to me have died. As though I bear some responsibility for their passing simply because of a sensation I am not capable to mourn enough.compared to others. Or perhaps I am not able to express my feelings as publicly as others seem able.

    Yet those who seem to be able to feel deep emotions for people they never knew, as was the case with Princess Diana, sometimes fill me with feelings of disgust. Too many of them appear not to experience similar emotions for innocent women and children who lose their lives in the war against terrorism or in acts of random violence.

    To believe someone as pampered and spolied as a Royal deserves more sympathy than someone living a life of comparative poverty in a war zone,seems despicable to me.

    Yet possibly there is a need for shared bereavement in society I cannot understand, and never will. To my mind this kind of collective consciousness is powered by the same forces that enrage mobs towards paths of destruction, in other circumstances, or lead to mass hysteria at pop concerts.

    But i sincerely believe we must remember to put aside our personal feelings at times, and never forget death comes to many as sweet relief.


    1. Hi Bryan,

      You have made great points.

      As you think back to those guilt experiences, what do you really see at the core of that feeling? How do you really link that “responsibility” you felt to a failure to exhibit emotions?

      You have also brought up this great thought of shared societal bereavement. I believe this existed in the agrarian societies but declined with the coming of the industrial age and urbanisation.I love your comment regarding the need to shift collective consciousness away from negativity.



  30. I am deeply sorry for your loss. This is such an incredibly difficult time to go through. I have been through it (a few too many times for my liking) and I can say that the emotions you are feeling are, indeed, normal. The guilt at experiencing any form of normalcy or happiness happens to everyone. Although the circumstances are always different, there are definitely steps and stages which everyone goes through. It is necessary to go through these steps. I wish you strength as you navigate this difficult and painful path.

  31. Death is difficult on the living, thus the importance of memories and reflection for healing … assuming on allows time because challenging time is never a good idea. Time always wins.

    The sign at a cemetery I recently visited said something like, “What you are I was, and what I am you will be.”

  32. We can never get accustom to death, the loss is tremendous, the finality of it is heart wrenching, the emotions are overwhelming. Most times you become very good at dealing with situations you have handled repeatedly. Death is one of those situations that do not fall into that category. The death of a loved one awakens emotions from the depth of our souls,and the innermost portions of our hearts,

    1. You are so right. In life we can never become greatly accustomed to death. That can never be a choice. But we may choose to shift our perspective of the parting. And that is what I have attempted as I wrote this post.

      Thank you for the visit.


  33. Death is hardest on the living. We’re the ones left behind, alone, feeling the absence of a loved one. There is no universal way that people deal with death. Each of us responds differently and no one should judge you because they don’t know what’s in your heart. This is a beautiful post, Shakti.

    1. Hi Judy,

      That’s a very thoughtful comment.If only we could rise to a level where getting judged no longer effects us.Truth remains that this a tough call and the chatter of your perceptions about, ” Oh! what is the world thinking of me now.” fills up the mind. And hence the need to keep facades even in grief.

      Thank you, I appreciate your presence.


  34. Grief is a very personal process. I don’t think anyone has to follow a set path or can. It’s about how that person normalizes after a loss. So sorry to hear about the loss of someone so young. Those always hit me harder.

  35. Shakti, thank You so much for coming by and commenting. It’s an honour to meet you. I feel that I fully understand what you are so eloquently conveying, here . And one day I’ll write about why, and share as you have. Please know, you are in my heart and prayers. Much love to you and your Family.

    1. Namaste! The honour is mine, Victoria, for having met a discerning person like you.I look forward to reading about your experiences and thoughts.Thank you for your kind wishes.


  36. So sorry to hear about your relative. Indeed, grief is a unique process, but at the same time, there is common ground, which is why those who grieve often find solace in support groups with others.

    Thanks for visiting my blog. I appreciate it.

    1. You are so right Carrie. A caring and empathetic support structure surely leads to faster recovery from grief. This, I guess, is also the reason why in many societies, the grief struck are never allowed to be alone for sometime.

      Thank you for your kind words, Carrie. I appreciate you.


  37. Shakti, love you for articulating so wonderfully that thought which bothers each one of us……..But before anything, first the good doc’s line that fascinated and befuddled me in equal measure – “………prevalence of joy during these times (death of someone) can in fact be striking.” …….. Joy in losing someone close? What could that mean?……….I think hard but can’t quite fathom what could be the source of it……

    But, as I continue to ponder, a part of the mind drifts the core of your beautiful narrative ….. You know, it occurs to me now, that when confronted with illness of someone close, we instinctively turn to”action”……It doesn’t matter if that action is useful, counter-productive or plain irrelevant…….but act we must……And reasons vary – from being of ‘service’, to seek redemption from some past “guilt”, to feel alive in the midst of gloom, to …….. And that action, somehow, is invigorating and adrenalin pumping……….But when death strikes, it suddenly stops us on our tracks and deprives us completely of that self-sustaining need for ‘action’……….The crutch removed, we begin to drift….the mind begins to take over – and the gloom of grief, guilt, some loss of self-worth and all that overcast our sky……. Till we can rationalise a new ‘sufficient’ reason for action – providing for the family, taxes to pay, taking wife for the doc’s appointment, visiting children, ‘charity’ work, helping another person in need – and so on……. then the ‘guilt” begins to melt away and the gloom begins to lift…… But that’s the way it ought to be, I guess, in His scheme of thingsI The underlying theme of life, after all, has to be – ‘this shall also pass’…… Anything else would be stagnation, would be death itself………Too simplistic? May be – but who can tell? Who indeed???

    1. Dada,

      Thank you for your wonderful and incisive thoughts as also your kind acknowledgement about the post.

      Dr. Bonanno himself was more than surprised by the findings of the study. In fact what he really concluded was that there was no straight line with different emotions parading in and out as part of our grieving process and recovery. What he discovered is a multi-track situation with several emotions cohabiting inside us allowing our minds to access them at random. And what triggers specific emotions to surface? It could be aspects of ourselves, our thoughts and the circumstances, about some of which we may not be even fully conscious of in the moment. Could this be a part of a complex survival instinct we carry within?

      I loved your pondering and the drilled conclusions you have come up with. I suppose what serves us to come to peace with aspects in our life is right for us. And your conclusion does that for you.



  38. “Having watched him through birth, childhood and adulthood, I find my own emotions swing between a connection severing anguish and a “out of mind, out of sight” normalcy.”

    You cannot believe how much this statement reflects what occupies much of my thought train, these days. People are and always have been living and dying all around me. As I drive down the road, I think, well, look at all these people, just zooming from place to place, doing what they always have done and going somewhere or nowhere in particular … laughing, crying, making love – enjoying their lives and/or fretting about this or that. When I’m gone, the world will go on the very same way. Strange, but predictable.

    I once interviewed a famous author who talked about grief being ‘the longest emotion’ and anger ‘the shortest.’ Or that’s how emotions most naturally occur, if one allows it. But in the Western world (and perhaps now in the east?), these are reversed: anger is held onto, with all sorts of consequences, from physical illness to an obvious emotional distress; grief is supposed to be over in a weekend – then back to work.

    I spent a month in Greece in the 1970’s. I remember thinking to myself, wow, these women must not own anything that isn’t black! Then I learned the custom is to grieve for (x amount of time – maybe it was 6 mos), not only for an immediate family member, but for anyone in their village. Well, the way life goes, it was never too long before somebody else died, and on the cycle went. I was so young at the time, I didn’t give it proper respect in my mind. Now I see it served to keep death in the sights of the villagers, which is never a bad thing when one wants to live life as fully as possible.

    Great post, Shakti. Sorry for the loss of your relation, and sorry most of all for the young family left behind. To let grief flow as it does and let life in the door must be the way of the world. The way of healthy emotions, I think, as long as we remain open to what we are actually feeling.

    Blessings to you all.

    1. Dear Bela,

      Reading your comment is akin to reading a continuation of my own musings when I wrote my post. Thank you for the great thoughts and insight.The aspect of “…grief being ‘the longest emotion’ and anger ‘the shortest’….” resonates. The more I think of this, the more I realise the wisdom in these words. But Bela, do you realise what these words are really saying? That love and bonding for your fellow beings can be discovered through the pathways of grief. This is what you noticed in your sojourn in Greece back in the ’70s. And as we notice this intrinsic love and emotions in our grief, we also learn to acknowledge the bearer of this grief, Death itself.

      Indeed keeping death in sight can support us to live life as fully as possible.

      Thank you for these beautiful thoughts Bela. Do I really need to say how much I appreciate you?



  39. This is very sad, Shakti. Losing a parent at such a young age is confusing and very tragic. Losing a husband is devastating. I was older when my father died, so I was more able to process the grief, but it is like a pendulum and I still swing from laughter to tears and find the emotions difficult to control. For a natural thing that occurs in life every day, death is something that brings us to our knees and reminds us of how precious and fragile life really is.

    1. Indeed Dianne,the greatest gift that Death brings into our lives is this beautiful appreciation of our mortality and the preciousness of our ” here and now”.

      Thank you for your toughts.


  40. I can feel your heart Shakti…Loss is such a life altering emotion. I used to always say “I am so sorry” but I have to wonder about that now. Our sorrows we feel at such a time are really for ourselves and the fact we shall miss that person, but really we should be celebrating their life and the fact they have crossed over to such a beautiful and loving world. Knowing we do not die forever but rather move on to a new existence is a helpful way of dealing with death. We shall see them again when we join them. It is the missing that leaves us so raw but we can deal best with that by remembering they are at peace in a happier dimension. I hope your emptiness and the wife’s emptiness heals gently and swiftly and laughter can return soon. Laughter is the most noble way to honor them….Blessings to you….VK

    1. Hi VK,

      Thank you for this great perspective. Yes, at the moment we notice sadness of our loss, we need to shift ourselves to celebrate the intrinsic beauty that is life and what it means to us.


  41. What a heartfelt and thought provoking post. Loss and grief are so personal, and there is no right or wrong way to work through the pain. And there is no time scale that dictates how or when we should feel happy again. So sorry for your loss and I wish you healing and hope.

  42. First let me add my condolences to those already added here Shakti

    Many may look at Death as a final door, and one in which we grieve their loss.. Having been at the side of 3 people in my life who I have watched literally pass from this life to the next… While I was saddened at knowing I would no longer have them in the physical world to share and laugh along side me… I also understood as I saw the peace and ease of that passing at the end ( you can read more of my Father’s passing here )
    I understood that they also pass from the pain of their suffering, and into a brighter world, one where we do not have disease and decay ..
    I was able to speak at my Fathers funeral and be strong for my family.. because Death is part of our renewal ~ it is like the transformation of the caterpillar to the butterfly… we walk amongst the cabbages thinking this is all there is…. We each pass through that Door of transformation, regardless of beliefs… or status or deeds in life… .. While I do not wish to pass through that door just yet.. I hope that when I do people will rejoice in that Transformation…
    So to me its ok to laugh and rejoice and live our lives..
    We know we will be there in ways we can help those who are grieving as we give them our support…

    My sister has gone one stage further than I… She battled Breast Cancer aged 36 with 4 children. She beat Death by narrowly squeezing herself back through the door to greet her new grandchild she knew she had on the way. My sister celebrated her 50th Birthday last year 🙂
    She informs us all constantly of living in the NOW and she says when she passes to the world of Spirit she wants everyone to wear Fancy Dress with bright colours….

    That poem was a very poignant poem, Death comes to us all…. and we may think we never win… until we see what awaits us through the door.. 🙂

    Wishing you Peace and sending a thought to your family who are in need of healing…….
    Blessings Sue

    1. Hi Sue,

      Reading your comment brings in so much of sustenance and positivity.

      We remain such a bundle of thoughts and emotions that holding your sister’s consciousness of “Here & Now” can be real tough at times. But life is such a wonderous thing, holding magical capabilites to bounce back into sunshine and positivity against all odds. It only asks us to “let go”. As I explored the concept of Sadness through Dr. George A. Bonanno’s book, this realisation only got reinforced.

      As we hold the perspective of Death being but a metamorphosis into something far superior and wonderful, we shed our attachments and fear.

      Dear Sue, thank you. I appreciate you.


      1. Shakti, Many thanks for that appreciation…

        Keep Shining your Light through the sadness of this world my friend … For we have much to be thankful for .. We need to understand what we think so we create and we hold much unwanted baggage in our emotional bodies … and my sister chose Life…. against all the surgeons odds.. and is busy now with 6 grandchildren of her own 🙂 ..

        Blessings ~Sue

  43. However you rationalise it the grief is real and the death of your young relative is still a great sadness for you, his wife, and the young child who will never know her father. You have my sympathy

    1. You are right, the pain and the longing for what could have been would always be there somewhere. But so long as we are in this world, we need to move on.Thank you for your kind thoughts.


  44. Dear Sir,
    Deeply sorry to hear about your loss. May God give you the strength to bear the loss.
    A thoughtful and poignant post. Makes one introspect. Thanks for the insightful pointer on handling grief.

  45. I am sorry for your loss my friend, the first entry makes my heart heavy, you have the power to bring such deep through your words but afterwards bring the hardship light. Powerful and insightful post…… Feel what you feel without embarrassment…

  46. So deeply sorry for the pain. There is no escaping the inevitable. I have lived through the death of my fiancé when I was 22. It was shocking and deeply painful for years. Even now with an entirely different life and the joy that is my son, I will occasionally dream of him as though it was yesterday and the wound is reopened.

    I remember the distress I felt at the world going on as though nothing happened. Now, I recognize that though the pain of loss is deeper than any other, you have to go on. You must dream and love and live life to its fullest. Never feel guilt at laughter. No one you ever loved who loved you back would wish you to do anything less than find happiness.

    1. Hi SD,

      You have such a lovely awareness.Yes, we need to “let go” and then “go on”. Go on to dream,love,live, laugh some more. Go on to experience the richness of possibilities, go on with intention to make a difference.

      Thank you for your beautiful comment, I appreciate you.


  47. Deeply felt. I am sorry for your loss but excited for your exploration of feelings. I have not yet written about it but I had an experience that I refer to as “feeling deeply.” It was wonderful and awful. “Feeling deeply is related to the development of compassion. I can sense great compassion within you. Thank you for the book recommendation.

    1. Hi Raven,

      I like the phrase you have used – “Wonderful & Awful”. Yes, compassion does play a role. Is this quality part of our genes or something which we acquire in our life’s journey? What could we do to elevate compassion in our ownselves as a prelude to transferring this to the environment?

      Thank you, I appreciate your presence.


      1. You ask a very interesting question or two. When I come to a place in my life where I am sort of wandering, I ask God what do you want me to do? How do you want me to change? I did this at 59 in 2005. An experience followed that was spiritual in nature. The experience lasted about 6 weeks. The after effects and my learning from it lasted about 7 years. What transpired within was the creation of incredible compassion for those who have seen combat. I in previous years had seen our war veterans on those days that they were celebrated. Otherwise I never gave them a thought. And I did not give them all that much thought on those special days.

        Resulting from this experience were my study of war, combat PTSD and 2 years of volunteering for veterans. The real out come that was for “me” was extraordinary compassion that grew within. And a now full understanding of a rather loveless childhood hat was indeed painful. For not only was my father in WWII but my mother a US citizen worked in London for a US Gov. Agency during the Blitz. I fully understand what WWII did to them and so many others. I have come to understand the evil of war and its collateral destruction as it reaches down through generations.

        Growing compassion within can come at quite a price – but for me it was worth it. I think that the seeds are within each of us. But we must nurture and grow them.

        I too appreciate you and your blog.

      2. Dear Raven,

        I loved this personal narrative. It carries so much of learning for each one of us. Spiritual experience can be highly personal but if, as in your case, it nurtured the seeds of compassion within , it clearly served a higher purpose.I suppose each one of us needs to go through such an experience to allow us shift our focus inwards.

        Thank you.


  48. A thoughtful piece, Shakti. I’ve been surprised by such feelings in the midst of mourning as well. I’m sorry to hear of your loss and read the story of wife and child. These things are woven into the gift of life and no way to escape them. Sometimes it amazes me that we can lose so many people we live and still stand upright.

    1. Yes Jamie, I too never got down to understanding the swing in my feelings and thoughts till I got down to writing this post. All life is intrinsically wired to let go and move on.This is natural for life to continue. When we condition ourselves to hold on to our sadness and choose to block out emotions of love and societal bondage, we in fact our blocking the natural paths of energy flow. Have you noticed the kind of negativity in terms of anger, blame and isolation this brings up?

      Thank you.


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