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How to Deal with the Loss of a Loved One?

How to Deal with the Loss of a Loved One?

“If you do not put down your illusions, the most profound dimensions of life will never touch you. Only drama will go on.”

—Sadhguru

Q: Sadhguru, I lost my wife five weeks ago. She was such a good person. Why did this have to happen to her?

Sadhguru: When we lose someone who is dear to us – either by death, disease, or desertion – whichever way we lose them, the biggest problem is that they leave an empty space that they had occupied in our lives. We need to understand, the very nature of life is such that you and your loved ones have to die at some point. The only question is who will die first.

This may sound brutal, but that is not the intention. It is very important to come to terms with these things. Otherwise, we will tell ourselves pretty things that will solace us for today, and tomorrow morning, reality will torment us again. We will do the same things again and again.

It is important for us to know that we and those around us are not going to be here forever. When we are here, we must show everyone our best face. The problem is only that, if a doctor tells you that you are going to die tomorrow, then everyone comes and shows you their best face. If you say, “I’m going to die after fifty years,” most people will not care. But we do not know whether it will be in fifty years or tomorrow. You know you will die and they will die. You just do not know when, so shouldn’t you show your best face to them?

I am showing my best face to you because I know you will die. Sometimes, I know when you will die. Many times, I do not know when you will die. I am just making sure I show my best face to you because you are a dying person.

This is true for every human being. This is true for every life. Who knows when the tree outside your house will die, or when you will die? You do not know.

Tears of Joy, Not of Grief

So, when people dear to us pass away, one thing is, they are dear to us because they have enhanced our lives in some way, maybe in many ways. If people around us have enhanced our lives and we cherish them, we must cherish them joyfully – we should not rue their exit. We should value them for the enhancement they have brought to our lives; for the sweetness and tenderness they may have shared with us. In some way, at least sometimes, they made you feel complete; they made your life feel complete. Let their memory always bring tears of joy and love to you, not of grief.

They mattered to you because in some way, they were wonderful to you. Let the memory of them bring back those wonderful aspects to you, rather than drive you into grief and depression. Driving yourself into grief and depression means you have not come to terms with the most fundamental aspect of life – mortality. Whether they are good or bad, they all will die.

This is not to ridicule your loss. I understand what your deceased loved ones mean to you. But I want you to remember them for all the wonderful things that they were. Not for making yourself feel terrible about their exit. If you had died before them, you would have left them in a bad place – so, please stand up as a human being.

Whatever wonderful things that happened to you, in some way have to find expression. If they have meant many wonderful things to you, please express that to those who are still living around you. This is how life goes on.

Pieces of the Collage

When I say “life”, I am talking about life per se, not what you do. You generally think life is your family, your work, your business, your wealth, whatever else you possess. But these are all accessories of life. You brought in money, wealth, relationships, children, thinking it will enhance your lives in some way. You gathered so many accessories, and you got so involved, attached, and identified with these accessories that you never experienced this life that you are.

Most people believe life is the collage of things that they have gathered. When a piece of the collage falls off, you suddenly feel as if life is gone, which is not true. Even before certain people came into your life, you were alive, you laughed, you knew joy. You added people believing it would enhance your life, or maybe there was some need to fulfill. All that is okay, but now, because of your identifications, you think a piece of life is gone when a certain person is gone.

The reality is the piece of life that you are is still there – the accessories are falling off over time. As you age, your grandfather will die, your father will die; sometimes, your spouse will die. Some people will lose their hair. Some people will even lose their head – this is not a joke. Some people will lose parts of their bodies. Some people will lose relationships. Some people will lose things, power, position, or money.

This is all in preparation for your exit. Your load gets reduced a bit, so that when you go, you will go more easily. This is not some philosophy – this is the way life is happening. Because you refuse to look life in the face, you make up your own images in your mind. And you want to make these psychological pictures into a reality. The psychological drama you create will never become reality. You have to draw the curtain someday. The sooner you are disillusioned, the better. You may come to your senses, or you may become depressed. That is your choice.

When Life Disillusions You

When life disillusions you, you may sit up and become enlightened, or you may become depressed. If all the illusions go away, that is called self-realization. Right now, you are hanging on to illusions, valuing them and being identified with them so much that you are fighting to keep them. This is maya – it goes on as if it is real, until suddenly, it is gone.

In a way, you always knew it. From the moment you were born, your clock has been ticking, and one day, it will stop. Well, we try to stretch it. We try to slow it down. We try to make best use of the time we have. We try to make it as profound as possible. It is very important that life touches you. If life should touch you on a deeper level, you have to put down the world that you have made up in your mind.

If you do not put down your illusions, the most profound dimensions of life will never touch you. Only drama will go on. This is not only a question about someone’s death – this is about your fundamental ignorance about life. It is time you come to your senses. If all your illusions break right now, if you are absolutely disillusioned, you are also enlightened. But you do not allow yourself to be disillusioned. If one illusion breaks, you make up the next one.

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