Do not make yourself look haggardly or unkempt when you grieve. You do not need to show the world you are grieving. If you hold joyful memories in your heart, and know that you contributed more happiness than sorrow to your loved one, you must not frown, but be joyful. If there is consciousness beyond the grave, your loved one will receive more benefit from your smile, not your tears.
One must try to look beyond the suffering of the moment. Life is like a wave that forever transforms. There is love beyond death and mourning. One needs to remain joyful to shine a light for those that are living, rather than shroud them with a dark cloak.
A state of constant agony is not helpful to anyone, including the mourner or relatives of the mourner. One must understand that death is not the end, but the beginning of a new chapter that the living can learn from.
Since ancient times, some Jewish teachings included tearing at one’s clothing, sitting on low seats or on the ground, and avoiding pleasures during mourning. Most of these gestures were acknowledged during Shiva, which is following the seven days after burial. In explaining Jewish halacha (Jewish law), my grandfather Rabbi Matloub Abadi gave much thought to this topic of a man’s mourning. He explained to his disciples that one did not, according to the customs of the time, have to mourn for a specified time or for a man to avoid shaving his facial hair. (There is an incredible audio recording of this interchange in Hebrew that still exists: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOkJi311D9U.)
From paintings to figurines, the Buddha has been characterized with a trademark smile. In a world that contains pain and loss, some have felt a smile may show disregard to life’s tragedies. But it was awareness of pain and suffering itself that the Buddha learned to transform into bliss.
In Islam, although grief and weepings at the death of a beloved person is normal, what is prohibited is to grieve by wailing, tearing hair or clothes, or breaking items. Some say the deceased may feel pain by these actions. https://en.islamway.net/article/47591/mourning-the-dead
In the case of losing a loved one, it is important for the mourner to understand that the loved one has passed down one of the greatest gifts- an eternal memory. Even today, as warm thoughts of my adoptive mother spring into my head I catch myself smiling.
To be clear to the reader, we must understand that sorrow is a human emotion. We hurt. We cry. When I lost my adoptive mother my eyes were so filled with tears that I wasn’t able to see. Pain and suffering is what defines our humanness and separates us from other life forms.
My point is we each grieve differently. We should not measure ourselves by the intensity of our mourning, the length of our mourning, or by any outward showing of our mourning. One should walk upright, observe their hygiene, and be aware that death is only a companion to life itself.
It is okay to embrace a time for individuals to contemplate their loss and console one another. However, If one has been gifted with enriching memories from someone who has passed away, try not to prolong your sadness with a yearning of the impossible quest of reversing the past. Be at peace with yourself, the present moment, and be a shining light for the living.
2 thoughts on “Mourning”
Absolutely beautiful, Mike. Thank you.
Thank you for reading my post, AR. I’m glad you found benefit from it.