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Conversation with a friend: How to deal with the death of a loved one and Three Lessons I learned

The simplest lessons are always the toughest to learn. This December, a classmate passed away and I was totally shocked to hear the news. Another shock came my way. I heard that another classmate's husband had passed away and when I received the news, I felt very deeply for her.


1. Reach Out, Show You Care and Be Honest

For me, my classmate is someone whom I had shared countless jokes and conversations with when we were young. Our conversations and happy moments have never faded though we have become different individuals with completely different journeys in life.  So, yes, I plucked up the courage to call and show that I am with my friend through this moment of grief. The experience of the conversation we had humbled me like a lesson of life and the blessing was that I felt much lighter within. 

2. Honour the need of others to grieve in their way

I believe that the ''body'' alone perishes but not the soul. I don't offer my beliefs  to those who are in grief unless they ask for my experience. Renowned Himalayan masters like Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, Swami Rama and Sri M have said this too. Famous Indian writer R.K.Narayan, in a personal conversation with Justice V.R.Krishna Iyer, revealed that his novel ''The English Teacher'' was a fictionalised account of his ''real'' conversations with his late wife. There are also individuals like Nan Umrigar and Aarti Raheja, who have documented their experiences in communicating with their loved ones after death. For most people, this may sound like rubbish. We need to honor their need to grieve in their own way.  

3. Listen with an Open Heart, Don't Judge

No one wants any one's ''judgment'' at a time like this - in fact, it is insensitive to even say things like, ''Don't worry, you are young and Time will heal this.'' How do we even assume that Time will heal another's grief? Listen with an open heart, make no assumptions but offer your love in simple, practical ways. We need to honor their need to grieve in their own way.  

[Do READ: A Dad's Advice to the Daughter He loves]

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In a beautiful, thought-provoking essay, Mirra (later, revered as The Mother),  wrote:

''My heart has suffered and cried, on the point of breaking under the weight of a too heavy sorrow, sinking under a pain too strong...But I have called to Thee, Divine Consoler, I have prayed ardently, and the Splendour of Thy Light has appeared and reanimated me.''

In grief-stricken moments when there doesn't seem to be a respite from the crushing pain, we can only look to the inner Light to shine its Splendour on us.