“Proof of Heaven” by Eben Alexander, MD

An encouraging quote from Dr. Alexander who experienced what the next life is like

“Brilliant, vibrant, ecstatic, stunning…I could heap on one adjective after another to describe what this world looked and felt like, but they’d fall short. I felt like I was being born. Not reborn, or born again. Just born.”  He also explains it is all about LOVE. Our spouses await us in a beautiful world.

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Wishing you peace

May you feel him or her with you this Christmas. Not only in memories but because the spirit of your spouse is part of who you are.

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Light a candle

“In this season of light, remember the light your loved one has brought to your life. Light a special candle – not in memory of a death, but in celebration of a life and a love shared.”  Darcie Sims

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More suggestions

Either for yourself or for others you can have small pillows made from your spouses  t-shirts, scarves or other clothing. Different sized pillows for covering can be found at any fabric store, if you are able to do the sewing yourself. I treasure one made from a t-shirt that is always there for hugging.

Buy yourself a gift from your spouse. What might you have asked for if he/she were here? Imagine his or her pleasure in your having it.

Buy a gift for your spouse. A painting he/she would like, a nick knack that represents something of his or her personality or interests, a ring to wear representing ongoing love, a CD you would both like or something you both had been considering buying for your home.

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Christmas

Anticipating Christmas without your husband or wife can be very painful and upsetting.  It can help if instead of just dreading it, you make some plans.  Do not feel obligated to send cards, make the dinner, or other things you’ve done in the past.  Let people know what you can and cannot do. You might find comfort in the usual family rituals or may need to do something completely different this year. Your family and friends want to support you. Let them know your wishes and needs. The first Christmas is particularly difficult, but even if years have passed Christmas can be an opportunity to keep the memory of your husband or wife alive for children and grandchildren.

A few suggestions.

Write a special prayer or blessing that includes the name of your loved one and put it on a card at each place for Christmas dinner. You may read this together as grace.

For those who will be together with family or friends a Christmas stocking can be hung, or a box provided with instructions for loved ones to  write something they remember or appreciate about the missing loved one. These can be read aloud at dinner or later in the day.

If you will be alone on Christmas, put cards or notes you received after his/her passing together and reread them Christmas day as reminders of the peple who love and want to support you.

I will post more suggestions soon.

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He is gone

You can shed tears that he is gone

or you can smile because he has lived.

You can close your eyes and pray he’ll come back

or you can open your eyes and see all he’s left.

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him

or you can be full of the love you shared.

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday

or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday.

You can remember him and only that he’s gone

or you can cherish his memory and let it live on.

You can cry and close your mind.

be empty and turn your back

or you can do what he’d want:

smile open your eyes, love and go on.

Anon

Very nice, but believing as I do, I will add.

You can and will shed tears

You can pray to feel his love

You can be happy for yesterday

and for eternal tomorrows.

You can hurt because he is gone

You can be comforted that it is only his body that is gone.

You can do what he’d want : smile go on and know the love you share is still alive.

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If you believe he or she is the one.

When our partners pass into the next life we need not think our marriage is on hold until we join them. If we love them we are just as married as before and our relationship continues. It continues as we reach for them in troubled times. It continues as we stay true to our marriage vows. It continues when our memories warm us and as we recognize how much their spirits influence our thoughts and feelings.

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I can relate to this

“Grief comes in and out like waves from the ocean. Sometimes when you least expect it, a huge wave comes along and pulls your feet right out from under you. ” Alan Wolfelt

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When a Spouse Dies

Excerpt from a pamphlet

When human hearts no longer beat and human lungs no longer breath a person is said to die. But, as is said in the theological writings of Emanuel Swedenborg, “We are not human beings because of our bodies but because of our spirits.” This booklet speaks to the loss of a married partner from the perspective of the teachings I’ve grown up with in the New Church (Swedenborgian). It is offered as encouragement to those of any faith who know in their hearts that they are still connected to and will be reunited with their married partners in the world to come.

Comments are from people who grew up with these beliefs as well as some who were introduced to them as adults. “Conjugial love” is used to describe a faithful, loving married relationship of body, mind and spirit that begins in this world and is perfected in the next. This love is for all who desire and work toward an eternal marriage.

The following quote, and quotes throughout the book, are from Swedenborg’s writings.

“When anyone passes from the natural

into the spiritual world, he takes all things

belonging to him as a human being

except his earthly body.”

Heaven and Hell

THE USES OF GRIEF

(from the above booklet)

Knowing that our partners are alive and well in the next life is of great comfort, but does not eliminate the need to grieve.

The intensity, of course, varies according to circumstances, but for most it is a painful process that cannot and should not be avoided. It is a necessary part of survival and growth. Grief is actually a gift that might be compared to the benefits  of going through painful physical therapy. The more work we are willing to do, the better our physical outcome will be. Grief involves physical, emotional and spiritual effort to adjust to this dramatic change in our lives. To try to avoid it only prolongs it. We have no choice. It forces us to examine what we’ve learned and what we truly believe. It is emotional and spiritual work that can strengthen and sustain us. You may identify with some of these descriptions of the grief process from members of our group.

* “The grieving process…is amazingly painful, physically as well as emotionally.”

* “When my husband died I was mostly in a daze.”

* “Loosing my wife was the greatest struggle of my entire life.”

* “The hardest part was going to church. I sat alone. People shied away.”

*”I got a new job…not on purpose…it caused my grief to be delayed…later however, grief did come.”

*”At first the pain is constant and inescapable.”

*”I miss holding my husband.”

*”When I felt I was making progress I was discouraged by relapses which I’ve learned since are normal.”

“Temptations are spritual labor in us.” Swedenborg

God does not will or cause prolonged illness or what may appear as untimely death, but must sometimes permit these for eternal reasons. This is true of all difficulties during our lives on earth. The longer we all live, the more evidence accumulates that the Lord can turn our most difficult challenges into blessings. When we dwell on the pain and feelings of injustice, we obstruct our ability to discover possible reasons and even blessings of our temporary separation. This change in perspective does not come quickly or easily, but my experience with many people tells me that after a period of time, most have no difficulty recognizing positive growth and change in their lives. The following are quotes from members of the Widows/Widowers group.

* “I have become a better wife to him since our separation.”

*”This experience has opened me to a new awareness of God and His mercy.”

*”I have become stronger and more worthy of my partner.”

*”Since his death, I feel I love him more than I ever did before.”

*”I feel her love and presence in my life.”

*”I’ve learned to pray.”

*”I feel positive I will actually see him again and be with him and that is the greatest joy and comfort of all.”

*”I realize my natural marriage is now done..but now notice my spiritual marriage.”

“A wife becomes more and more a wife and a husband more and more a husband as they become more and more interior.” Swedenborg

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A thought for today

“I have only slipped away into the next room. I am I and you are you. Whatever we were to each other, that we still are.”  Henry Scott Holland “What is Death?”

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