Death And Dealing With It
“Don’t talk about death on a happy site. You can’t do that. Everyone wants a positive pep talk instead about why they should be happy”. I’m glad I don’t believe in that.
Since my brother Alex was killed in a car accident a few months ago, I haven’t been posting much. It’s as if I need time to process it all on the inside, rather than make it all public.
If you’ve read my posts and my book you will know that talking about death and other hard stuff is absolutely relevant to happiness. If people try to cover these difficult issues up and put on a smiley face, their chances of happiness are slim.
For happiness is so much more than smiling and saying positive things. It’s about meaning, and finding fulfilment in building others up and making the days of your ordinary life count.
This kind of “fulfilment happiness” is radically different to the usual portrayal of focusing on developing a positive mental attitude. As good as that is, positivity is woefully inadequate in handling difficulties like death.
For it is in times of grieving that we need all the more to be authentic and not ‘play games’. Willing ourselves to be positive, wear a smile, and be brave aren’t particularly helpful and can even do a lot of harm. Because being true to our natural feelings in intense times of grief allows us to work through what we need and build a different future.
Finding fulfilment in determining what we can do to contribute is valuable anytime. But when you are dealing with great difficulty it might not be at the top of your priority list (in my case, the numbing effect of loss makes it hard to concentrate. So I have to let go of some things for the time being).
Still, allowing yourself to deal with grief with all of its sadness is healthy. Unlike some who mistakenly believe grieving beyond a funeral is just an indulgence, I believe it is both natural and necessary to process your grief experience in your own time (whether that fits in with other people’s schedules or not).
It’s not bad, negative, or excessive to grieve. Quite the contrary. It is an important part of life and, when you think about it, you can naturally expect to go through it many times in your life.
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