It’s bad enough losing a loved one. It sucks. But for them to die before their time — it’s unjust.

The newly retired grandmother who was looking forward to playing with her grandchildren but got struck by a deadly virus.

The recently unemployed father killed by the police officer who was meant to protect him.

The depressed young professional who lost his job and jumped in front of a train.

The excited mother-to-be who died during childbirth.

The teenager who got knocked over by a reckless driver in a speeding car.

The playful infant who drowned when he fell in the pool.

The stillborn baby girl who had her whole life ahead of her.

It doesn’t make sense. How can this world be so cruel? It doesn’t seem fair.

On the face of it, it’s not fair.

Contemplating on the true nature of this world

Why should someone die at such as young age? Did they not deserve to live a long healthy life? Did I not deserve to have more time with them?

As we go through life, we discover that loss is inevitable. No matter how much we might want someone to come into our life or to stay with us forever, the reality is that when it’s our time, or their time, that will be it.

We see again and again how anything which comes to form will inevitably fall away. All things that I can see, hear, taste, touch and smell — all this will at some point break, melt, evaporate, burn, disintegrate or in some way no longer remain as what I might know it to be.

I could become furious about this loss, this injustice. I could shout and scream. But will it change what was meant to be? What I realise is that it will just hurt me further.

What if I was to become so numb and heartless that the series of losses in life need never hurt me again? Well, that might appear to work for a while, but it saps all energy. What a waste of life, a missed opportunity for self-realisation, for deep growth and to unleash the soul.

Applying the lens of kindness to myself and to the world

So what’s the alternative?

Let me cultivate a zest for life and compassion within.

Let me see the reality of the situation and be kind to myself.

Let me focus on that which can make a positive difference to me and the world around me.

Let me relentlessly pursue the quest to discover that which is permanent, that which is dependable, that which will bring rise to great calm and true joy.

The world is suffering, yet we have the power to heal ourselves and the world around us. By contemplating on the true nature of reality and recognising the transitory nature of this world, may I become empowered to lead a calm and purposeful life.

Would I want to be a bachelor again?

So my wife’s been away on a retreat in India these 5 weeks and I was curious how I would feel about this temporary loss over time.

Friends have commented how I must be enjoying bachelor life while the wife’s away.

In the past, I have felt excited initially (at the prospect of doing what I want without distractions), followed by weeks of loneliness (even when surrounded by family, friends and colleagues) and sadness at the prospect of returning to an empty home. Outer distractions would quickly turn into inner distractions, such as procrastination. Distractions, mostly, from facing up to my inner blockers and vices.

This time, however, it was different. Yes I got immersed in work but also intentionally carved out quality time with close family and friends, and yes some time to binge watch Netflix (!) Most importantly, I actively confronted my inner challenges – calmly, confidently, joyfully.

Doing this has shone a light on what’s truly important, has helped me to clearly define and work on my priorities, and has created more space in my life to do that which is fulfilling and joyful.

This is work in progress, of course, but what an encouraging start.

This year we’ll be married 10 years – and it’s now I see how much I value Heena’s presence in my life. Her creative spirit, her compassionate heart.

Time apart has been as enriching as time together.

Do I worry about losing her? Not so much. Do I love her presence in my life? Absolutely. Would I want to be a bachelor again? No need.

Resolving the unresolved

Written by Suraj Shah. Inspired by greatness.

Those who know that their life may be coming to an end tend to want to get their affairs in order and make amends with anyone they have a fragile relationship and unresolved issues with.

But what about the relationships where you lost someone suddenly and hadn’t had a chance to resolve the conflict before they died?

The unresolved

There was this couple, both in their early 50s, married for over 25 years. They had many struggles in life but somehow worked together to overcome them.

Then one day, out of the blue, the wife (let’s call her Anne) got upset by what her husband did. It was only something small and didn’t really matter all that much, but it upset her and she gave him the silent treatment. The husband (we’ll call him Michael), who was used to this silent treatment over the years, didn’t bother to try to shake her out of it. He knew it was something she did to help herself deal with life. But Anne thought she was teaching him a lesson!

A few days went by, but she was still upset at him. Days turned into weeks and weeks turned into months. Still no word from her. Michael tried to get her to see sense and come out of her silent treatment, but Anne stood firm. At this point she didn’t even know what she was angry about, but thought there must have been a reason so she stayed adamant.

Then one dark winter evening, while Michael was walking home from the station after work, he got knocked over by a car and died at the scene of the accident. His wife, upon finding out about what happened, was flooded with feelings of anger, resentment and guilt.

She was angry at the driver for the accident and at her husband for leaving her alone. She had resentment towards her husband for not giving her a chance to make amends (even though he tried many times). She was riddled with guilt for not breaking the silence sooner and resolving the issue, the tiny insignificant issue, that she had been holding onto so tightly.

Anne was carrying these feelings for many months after her husband passed away. So what did she do to finally resolve whatever was unresolved?

Resolving the unresolved

After several months of turmoil brought about by these feelings, Anne sat down one quiet evening with a hot drink, a pen and a notebook.

She started to make a list of all that she was feeling and trace those feelings back to the initial cause. Then, when she thought she may have found the root cause, she went back a little further and found the real reason. Anne realised that what caused the original frustration wasn’t really all that bad and that she ought not have held onto the silent treatment for so long.

She thought about the driver of the car and realised that no matter how much at fault he may have been, any anger she harbours will only cause herself more suffering.

Anne also thought hard about the resentment she felt towards Michael not giving her a chance to make amends, and that it really wasn’t in his hands to resolve the issue.

She thought about her own guilt and realised that any guilt she felt was just causing her more pain, more suffering.

As the months moved on and the years passed, Anne learnt to let go of the anger, the resentment and the guilt. Along with that, she freed herself from the pain and the sorrow and now lives a calmer life – a life with clarity and purpose.

How to resolve the unresolved

If you are still harboring unresolved issues and feelings following the loss of a loved one, what can you do to resolve them?

1. Get clear on what caused the hurt: Take some time out for yourself and think deeply on the root cause of the feelings that are causing you so much turmoil? Are they truly justified? Can you afford to keep feeling them? What value do those feelings bring to your life, and what might you want to replace them with to increase your level of peace and happiness?

2. Write them a note: Granted, the one you loved may no longer be around, but it may help to write a note addressed to them. You don’t need to post it or show it to anyone, but write out your deepest feelings, the causes, how you feel now and how you want to feel. Write whether you love them. Write whether you forgive them. Write whether you understand. Write what you have learnt about yourself. Write to love more. Write so that you may grow.

3. Be kind to yourself: Most important, care for yourself, so that you may free yourself from suffering. Be kind to yourself so that you can release the shackles that have kept you bound in turmoil. Be kind to yourself so that the ill feelings simply lift away and let you lead a peacefully calm and purposeful life.

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