Reacting to News of a Death

Apr 21, 2012 | 0 comments

Debra Greene, Ph.D., recently sent me this letter about her mother’s death. Her mom had done her funeral planning arrangements, and still, the news is such a shock. Debra, an Energy Health Specialist practicing Mind-Body Medicine, has some good insights on processing grief.

Debra said I could share her story on the blog. She is a big fan of A Good Goodbye: Funeral Planning for Those Who Don’t Plan to Die.

Let’s Talk About Death and the Interlife

There is so much stigma, fear, and misunderstanding about death in our culture. My intention in sharing this story is to inspire deeper conversations and honor our endless energy essence. I consulted with several people before sending this email. Most said, “Go for it!” Several said, “Proceed with caution.”

When the call came it was a lovely Maui afternoon. I was sitting at my desk working on an article. The voice said, “I’m sorry to inform you but your mother has passed away.” It was the retirement community in Dallas where my mom had been living for the past four years. She passed peacefully while napping in her favorite chair. My mom was 88 years old so this was not completely unexpected, but it was still a shock to my system. Then came the question, “What do you want us to do with the body?”

I was still struggling to absorb the news and couldn’t quite register the question. “What do you normally do with a body?” I heard myself ask. “You contact the funeral home and inform them. They send someone out to collect the body. Which funeral home was your mother working with?” I had no idea. The person on the other end became quite insistent that this be dealt with right away. Then I heard myself say, “What do you suppose is going to happen? She’s already dead!”

On a practical note, if you or your parents are aging it’s a good idea to put affairs in order. Although many people don’t like talking about death, it’s a necessary part of life and planning ahead can really help those left behind.

Luckily my mom was very organized and thorough. She had preplanned and prepaid her funeral arrangements. I just needed to find the documents she had sent me all those years ago. Once I located them, everything became easier. I could stop task-mode and focus on my feelings.

After the initial shock wore off (lasted for several hours) the grief came rolling in like waves. This consisted of uncontrollable sobbing on various occasions over the course of a few days. And then the process felt compete. There doesn’t seem to be unprocessed grief lurking around, but I am open to that if there is.

It helped that my mom had appeared in a dream about a week before she passed and the dream made it clear she was about to leave the physical plane. I didn’t remember this when the phone call came, but on some level I had been forewarned.

Also, I knew my mom had been dis-incarnating over the past several years. Unless someone dies in an accident, this is usually how it goes. It is a process that is marked by discernible stages. So I had been preparing for it.

I had also been preparing my mom for it by assuring her that we don’t die, and that there is nothing to be afraid of. Since Mom had a Catholic upbringing I also assured her there is no such thing as hell. I knew this was a fear she harbored, so I firmly stated, “It has been scientifically proven that there is no hell.” Given everything I’d studied about death, the dying process, and near-death experiences, I could say this with sincere conviction.

Since she made the transition in early February, Mom has “visited” me twice and we have “talked.” I must follow this by saying I do not typically communicate with the dead. Some people do, but I am not one of them.

This was an unusual experience. Although I did not see her, I knew it was her because I could not control her information input in my mind. (This is not to be confused with “old tapes” running. I knew it was her because years of meditation and self-work brought me to a place where I could clear my mind at will, controlling my thoughts. But I could not control these.) I also recognized the energetic signature of her presence. (Having studied my inner landscape thoroughly, I could recognize the contents of my own subtle energy system and discern the energetic presence of another.)

During her “visit,” she told me she was doing well. I asked how she spends her time. She said most of her time is spent “floating.” I suspect that has changed by now but this is the stage she was at in February, about two weeks after passing.

I told her it’s okay to visit me as long as it doesn’t interfere with her next step. We can hold people back and keep them earth-bound if we become too attached to them and try to keep them around. So far I have not heard more from her. Overall, I still feel very connected. I think of her from time to time and the thoughts are pleasant. I send her healing light, the Golden Light of Grace, and trust she is enjoying the great adventure.

Yours in the One Life,


(If you are having issues with the grief process, an Inner Clarity phone session with Debra can really help. Check it out!)

A Good Goodbye