What About Denial?

Posted by Eliza, April 19th, 2018

Dear Ones,

Spring feels like the wrong season to be thinking about death. No one wants to go there when life is putting on a gorgeous show! If we take a moment to reflect, though, we can accept that that without death there’s little room for new life.

And let’s face it, denial can be a useful tool – it allows us to allow in the harder parts of our reality in manageable bits. In my work with those who anticipate a loss or grieve one, I have seen the darker side of denial – and its consequences.

We can wish away what is happening to a dying loved one, but to refuse to acknowledge what is happening is to rob the loved one and one’s self of two important gifts: the first is a chance to focus on the quality of the life still to be be lived; the second is to say good-bye.

By a good-bye, I mean communicating – with words, gestures, acts of lovingkindness – all that is most important, and often unspoken – our sadness, our love, and our thanks. In a good farewell we forgive or ask for forgiveness; we make a few more memories and share those we’ve made; we acknowledge our gratitude for the love we’ve received; we say out loud, “I love you. I will miss you.”

When we embrace the reality of what is, we have energy to make the most of our time together, to make meaning of the story of our shared lives, and to rest in the completeness that a complete farewell brings. Then we receive the energy that insures our loving will outlive our loss.

Sending you light and love,

Rev. Eliza

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2 responses to “What About Denial?”

  1. Laura Cavicchio says:

    Thank you, Eliza, this is so well and gently said. I have regret that my goodbye with my mother 14 years ago was not as complete as I wish it had been, but I’lm grateful for the one we did share. I feel grateful also to walk with others in their grief, as you do, in the bereavement groups I lead. I’d love to read more of your blog. Holding you and little Maisie and your family with love, Laura

    • Eliza says:

      Laura, thank you. I’ve heard that many of us don’t get the opportunity to make farewells with our loved ones, for a wide variety of reasons. Good-byes may be hard because no one wants to part. Or, as in the case of a loved one slipping away when we take a quick break, it is too much to bear. You are right to take comfort in what did pass between you in your last times together.
      I appreciate sharing your experience, as others undoubtedly have had that concern, too.

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