Forgiving Loved Ones Who Have Died

Forgiveness releases us from the painful past.
When someone close and dear to our heart dies, there can be a flood of emotions The feelings of grief associated with losing that person’s physical presence can be immense. Some of us deny our loss and grief by shedding no tears. Others may experience tears for months or even years.

Sometimes when a loved one dies after a prolonged and painful illness, family members and friends may feel relieved. Your ego may tell you that you should feel guilty for this feeling and that a “good person” would not have such emotions.

The loss of a loved one may cause us to feel angry at the world. We may or may not be aware of this anger. The ego may tell us that we should feel guilty about being angry.

I met a wonderful woman named Minnie at a workshop in Hawaii. Minnie told me that she was eighty-one years old and had not been able to stop crying for the past two years. It started when her son died at the age of forty-five. She had felt depressed and abandoned ever since. A week before she cam to the workshop, Minnie’s counselor had told her that it was “time to stop crying and get on with your life.”

Hearing these words, a little voice within my heart told me exactly what I was to say to Minnie. First, I reminded her that I was a doctor, and I told her that I was going to write a prescription for her. Her face brightened and she nodded. Then I took out a piece of paper and wrote, “It is all right for you to cry as much as you want and as often as you want.” I signed my name and handed it to her.

Minnie’s face lilt up with a smile that went from ear to ear. It became clear to me that if I were to help her, all I had to do was give her my unconditional love and acceptance. She did not have to change for me to love her. I shared with her my personal belief that there really are no scripts for how a person should mourn or face death.

Many of the communication problems we have in life are the result of our having scripts that we want others to follow. Tearing up our scripts is a way to become happy.

Minnie was definitely feeling much better. I then asked her if she had a good imagination. She replied that she did. It was during a workshop break, so I looked around the room and found a man who looked to be about forty-five, the age Minnie’s son had died. I asked this person, whose name was Brad, if he would be willing to volunteer for a few moments to be Minnie’s son, whose name was Franklin. Brad said he would be more than happy to do so.

I explained to Minnie that for the next ten minutes she could use her imagination to make it a reality that her son, Franklin, was actually in Brad’s body at this time. She could say whatever she wanted to tell him, and Franklin would talk with her. She agreed to do it, and I proceeded to ask her if she had ever felt angry at Franklin for leaving her. She paused for a second and then said, “Yes, I certainly have!” She shared some of the feelings she had around the anger.

I coached Brad on what to say. As Franklin, he told Minnie that he was fine and that he was with her in spirit all of the time. He said, “We do not have to be in bodies to communicate. Ur minds can communicate without a physical presence.”

He went on to reassure Minnie that she would never be alone because she could always choose to experience his presence whenever she wished.

Minnie stopped crying almost immediately upon hearing these words. In a little while she was able to tell him, “I forgive you for dying.”

Minnie’s body energy shifted dramatically. A great weight had been lifted from her shoulders. She was all smiles.

About an hour later, Minnie came over to me and said that she no longer felt like weeping.

“That’s great,” I said, “But it is still just fine for you to cry as much as you need.”