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Grief is one of the emotions that we experience from time to time in life.
I am narrating three approaches by three different people, how they dealt with it, and you be the judge which is the best approach.
Incidence 1. ( Approach 1 ).
As I was making rounds at the hospital, I came into the room of a patient of mine, Henry.
He was admitted for pneumonia and was doing well after 3-4 days of IV fluids and antibiotics.
But somehow, he didn’t appear happy with his progress.
I told him,” Henry, it looks like things are turning around, and in a few days, we should be able to discharge you.”
Henry said, “No, Doc. I don’t think I’m going to make it till tomorrow.”
I was shocked at his statement.
Yes, he was an elderly guy in his high 80s, but he was otherwise a healthy guy.
So, his statement bothered me.
I asked,” Henry, why are you saying this? Things are looking better.”
Henry replied,” No, Doc. It’s not that. There is something that is bothering me a lot, and it is tearing me apart from the inside.”
“What is it?” I asked.
“I have a grandson, whom I love a lot. He just finished college, and now he has decided to move out of state.
I love him so much, and I don’t want him to move, and at the same time, I don’t want to tell him this and interfere with his career.
I understand that he has to go, and this grief of not being able to see him again is hurting me.
I don’t think I’ll make it till morning.” He said, with tears in his eyes.
I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “C’mon, Henry. Everything will be fine. Once you get better, I’m sure you can visit him, and he also can come and see you from time to time. So, take it easy.”
I left at that point, but somehow he still had that unconvincing look on his face.
And to my surprise, and shock, I got a call at 5 am, that Henry was found dead in his sleep.
He was a full DNR ( do not resuscitate ), so no resuscitative measures were done.
I felt an emptiness within me and also helpless that I could not do anything for him and his grief.
Incidence 2. ( Approach 2,3 ).
An Indian couple came to see me.
Their Father was a doctor, and a pediatrician, and his wife worked in a nursing home.
They had come for their regular check-up, which we wrapped up fast as both were pretty healthy.
Then we got into social chat, as I always did with most of my patients.
“So, how are things? How is your son, by the way?” I asked.
Their son was a medical student and probably finishing soon. I wasn’t sure.
“He is doing fine. He just finished his residency. “ Dad said.
“Oh, wow. Time flies. I remember him just getting into med school. “ I said.
“No, Shrenikbhai, he is a full fledge doctor now. I’m so proud of him.
But there is one thing that’s bothering me, and he has decided to move to Florida in warm weather.
My wife and I have different approaches on this.
I am upset.
Someday he will get married and will have kids, but looks like we won’t be able to see our grandchildren that often, being that they will be so far away from NJ.
But somehow I have accepted the reality. This is America. Kids have the right to choose their life and pursue their ambitions.
I respect that, and I will live with that.” He said.
“What about you, Nilaben ( his wife )?” I turned to his wife and asked.
“Oh, Shrenikbhai, I have been telling Yogesh ( husband ) to let go. After all, he is our son.
As long as he is happy wherever he goes, that’s all I want.
I will be happy if he is happy.” She said
Let’s have a discussion on three different approaches.
Which approach is the best and why?
One answer from the group –
The last three lines say it all.
Best way to deal if we can accept the facts.
Accepting still has a subtle negative tone to it.
She is not just accepting it ( like her husband ). She is rejoicing because her son is pursuing his happiness, and she is synchronized with him. She is showing unconditionality of her love for him.
Rejection – caused death ( presumably ).
Acceptance ( husband ) – is a compromise ( with some tinge of unhappiness ).
Rejoicing – being happy when he is happy – is removing the distance between herself and her son (unselfishness of having him near ) – removing the duality.
And yes, she will be unhappy when he is unhappy, but the oneness she expresses is an expression of unconditional love.
Isn’t her love conditional? Because she is happy when her son is happy, and vice versa.
Oneness means no “two-ness “ – no duality.
Buddha and Mahavir expressed compassion for the whole world, because they had dissolved their Ego completely, and they felt compassionate towards the whole world.
Granted she is a mother and not a Buddha, but the unconditionality of her love is a virtue.
One has to become a mother before one can become a Buddha.
Would Nilaben be sad if her son leaves her permanently, say disappears, or dies?
She is not Buddha and not on the spiritual path.
Yes, she will suffer.
r response is still the best among the three approaches.
She has a better chance to transcend to Buddhatva because unconditionality has been gifted to her by nature.
But it is restricted to her son only.
With spiritual practice, she can rise higher.
The first person’s life was lost as he succumbed to grief.
The father has just learned to live with the grief.
The mother is the champion of the three.
She is exhibiting her true nature.
The father will have to learn from her ( if he has a vision for it ), and then only further journeys can happen for him.
Ascending to her higher self, dissolves her old self dissolving her current attachment to her son.
Detachment is not really a detachment at all.
Spirituality has been misinterpreted.
It is an attachment at a higher level.
Attachment at the consciousness level is detachment and attachment simultaneously – detachment from the physical form and attachment at the spiritual level.
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