When Grief Turns Good
“Every relationship, whether it is with our parents or with life partners, must end one way or another. Our life span is finite and we cannot stop inevitable death and physical separation.”
The quote above, is just a snippet from a message I received from Dr. Yukio Ishizuka. I had met him at a Boardroom Inc. (publishers of The Bottom Line newsletter) dinner where experts from various fields came together for a stimulating discussion about the economy, life in general, longevity, and more. Brian Kurtz of Boardroom is a dear friend and amazing human being. When he puts these groups together one can count on a powerful experience and many new friends. Thanks, Brian and of course, Marty Edelstein.
Below is the message in its entirety. In subsequent conversations with Dr. Ishizuka and after further contemplation, I realized that my father’s death is a closing of one door and the opening of another. On the other side of the new door is a renewed focus on connecting deeply and authentically with people. I am also more deeply committed to creating meaningful relationships in every area of my life. That is a huge part of my Father’s gifts to me now.
The message from Dr. Ishizuka:
“I am sincerely sorry about your father’s passing and appreciate your deep grief as reflection of your love for your father, who has been dear to your heart.
However, your father’s physical death is not the end of your close relationship with him. In fact, he has become part of you and will remain so as long as you live. I remember a female attorny, a partner in a law firm, who came to see me in severe distress as she faced her beloved father declining rapidly with terminal cancer. She told me that it was her father, who had encouraged her to dare and pursue legal career and helped her become what she was. She could not bear watching his father diminish and die.
My advice for her was to visit him every day, try to get even closer to him as he was declining, until the last moment of his life, being grateful that she had had such a wonderful father, and redouble her efforts to become even closer to her husband. She required only that single session to overcome her grief.
Death is not a tragedy, although our response often makes it into a tragedy, from which we have difficulty recovering. You have not lost your father by his death. Your father lives on in you.
Psychologically, we take our parents into our personalities and carry them with us, as our DNA is carried on by our offsprings after our physical death.
You must put yourself in your father’s shoes. He already knows how much you love him. You don’t have to prove it by depth of your grief. You must cherish your memories of him, keep loving him, and must not shrink from new close relationships, for fear that it may also end.
All relationships in life end (physically) in death sooner or later. The only choice we have is to live our life out as fully as we can, which includes loving another human being while we still can.
I suspect that your father would agree with me.”by