Learning from Death: How We Change When Losing a Loved One

There is no easy way to write about death that doesn’t risk trivializing it or being overwhelmed by it. Fortunately, I have never suffered a tragedy, such as the loss of a child or spouse or family member before their natural time.

You don’t have to lose someone or face your own death to learn from it.

I have spent a lot of time personally and professionally with people who have had to grapple with the questions that none of us have answers:   

Why did this happen? 

What did I do wrong? 

How can I make this pain go away? 

If I could only have… 

With all the pain of loss and grief, I do like one aspect of what death does to those left behind: it pushes out all the extraneous noise of our lives and forces us to deal with only that which really matters. Most often, someone who has been shattered by a loss is very, very real. It’s almost like you’re speaking to someone on a drug when what comes out is pure, true, and undefended. 

I find such experience deeply grounding, and I enjoy being in an atmosphere of such truth. It is at such times that I understand what might draw someone to work in hospice care. The opportunity to work in an environment where everything is on the line, where there is no point in pretense, where life is stripped down to the bare essentials: it seems to me it’s like a spiritual backpack trip. You have only what you really need to survive; everything else is extra baggage you don’t want to carry. You are reminded of how little you really need, and how simple and pure life can be.

 Sometimes when I’m working with a couple, and they’re sniping at each other over the “he said/she said” of married life, I cut through the static with the following intervention:   

I have them sit across from each other and fill in the blank to the sentence – “If I knew I was going to die tomorrow, what I would want you to know today is…” 

That gets their attention. They immediately drop out of the argument and say things like “I love you” or “I’m sorry I wasn’t a better husband/wife.” 

Why does this happen? 

I think most of the time, most of the day, our ego is running the show. We are concerned first and foremost with the survival of the “I” of the ego. This can take countless forms, but just a few examples to help you know what I mean would include:  

Worrying about what I get out of this situation

How I look to others or wanting to hurt someone who hurt me

Wanting to fend off possible criticism

Needing to be right  

All of the above actions are about the importance of Ego.  

We don’t know what happens when we die. 

Although most of us have beliefs about it. Here’s one of the things I feel relatively sure about: the ego dies with the body.

If any part of us survives our physical death, I cannot believe it is that aspect of us which worries how we look, if only because I see how that drops away in those who have just lost someone. 

Letting death be our teacher, through making us aware of what truly matters, is one of the best ways I know to be truly alive.  

If you knew you were dying tomorrow, what would you do differently today?

If you’re struggling with loss, grief, and death, we’re here to help with Imago  and . We also have Online Couples Therapy and Online Couples Workshops right now!  

 Josh GresselThis blog post was written by Josh Gressel, a clinical psychologist and certified Imago therapist in practice in the San Francisco Bay Area.

He is the author of  (University of America Press, 2014) and “Disposable Diapers, Envy, and the Kibbutz: What Happens to an Emotion Based on Difference in a Society Based on Equality?” in Envy at Work and in Organizations (Oxford University Press, 2017).  He has just completed a book on masculinity.  

Check out Josh’s website: joshgressel.com

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Facebook flags Bruce Springsteen pro-Biden ‘The Rising’ video for ‘false information’

Facebook flags Bruce Springsteen pro-Biden ‘The Rising’ video for ‘false information’

Chris Jordan
Asbury Park Press
Published 12:54 AM EDT Aug 19, 2020

Oops. 

Facebook flagged Bruce Springsteen for spreading “false information” on Tuesday, Aug. 18, but FB says it was all a mistake.  

The Democratic National Convention video of the Bruce Springsteen song “The Rising,” in which Springsteen and wife Patti Scialfa make an appearance, was removed from Springsteen’s verified Facebook page at approximately 9:30 p.m. EST, Tuesday, Aug. 18.

“Facebook found this post repeats information about COVID-19 that multiple independent fact-checkers say is false,” read an explanation superimposed over a faded image of the video.

Bruce Springsteen’s Facebook page

About two and a half hours later, the label was removed and the video was viewable.

“The label was applied by mistake and was quickly removed once we became aware of the issue,” said Facebook’s spokesperson Katie Derkits to the USA Today Network New Jersey via email.    

The video features Springsteen’s 2002 song “The Rising” framed as a message of resiliency against the Donald Trump presidency. Scenes of a COVID-19 ravaged  America, including an empty subway and football stadium, are shown as “The Rising” begins. That’s contrasted with the march of neo-Nazis with torches in Charlottesville, Virginia and Trump throwing paper towels to hurricane victims in Puerto Rico.

After that, first responders, George Floyd protesters, Black Lives Matter sign makers, mask wearers and more who are dedicated to the Rising  are shown.

More: Bruce Springsteen ‘The Rising’ video takes on Donald Trump at Democratic Convention

More: Why the concept of time is different for Bruce Springsteen than it is for you and me

A Facebook “Science Feedback” explanation of the video removal, accessible by a click on the label, said that “SARS-CoV-2 is a novel coronavirus that arose naturally; no patent exists for SARS-CoV-2; no COVID-19 vaccine exists yet.”

Reps from the Democratic National Convention and Springsteen did not reply to a request for comment by press time. 

Alberto Engeli of Asbury Park attempted to share “The Rising” video on Facebook on Tuesday night and was blocked.

“I don’t understand why, I could only imagine the fact checkers are from multiple organizations and they’re Republican,” said Engeli via email before the video was restored. “I don’t see any relation with Sars-CoV 2 or that (the video) is spreading bogus coronavirus conspiracy theories.”

While it was down on Springsteen’s Facebook page, the video was viewable on Instagram, including Springsteen’s verified page, on YouTube and on Twitter, including Springsteen’s verified page there, where he shared Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden’s tweet featuring the “Rising” video.

Chris Jordan, a Jersey Shore native, covers entertainment and features for the USA Today Network New Jersey. Contact him at @chrisfhjordan; cjordan@app.com.  

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UN suspends humanitarian services in North East Nigeria

person truck

The United Nations in Nigeria has paused the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service rotary operations in the Northeast.

This according to them is to establish the facts surrounding a shooting incident during a UN aircraft approach to Damasak, Borno State where one of the UN helicopters sustained bullet holes to the body of the air craft.

This halt in humanitarian services will be for an initial period of one week to allow the UN officials engage with government partners and conduct a new risk assessments for each helicopter location.

#UN #humanitarianservices #NorthEast

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