Saying Goodbye Is Never Easy… A Letter for My Friend

October 29, 2013 · Filed Under Healing Grief & Loss · Comment 

I awakened today to a phone call from Debbie, the daughter of one of my oldest, dearest friends, Lee, informing me that her mother had died. Lee, who was was days away from her 85th birthday, lived with the spirit and gusto of one at least twenty years younger.

Some might say, She was blessed to live 85 years, a good thing. Yes, she was blessed and it was a good thing. But, selfishly, I knew she loved me and I knew how much my love for her meant to her. What I knew for sure was that I could no longer meet her for lunch, something we did very infrequently – because I knew she was always there and we would always be able to make it happen. But that is not so anymore.

I can't hug her, hear her voice, or explain to her why I did not get back to her when she worried that something terrible had happened to me because she was unable to reach me. This time, it was Lee who had something "terrible" happen to her. My grief is deep , my heart is heavy and I feel alone, though I have such a beautiful husband and family to support and sustain me.

I immediately felt Debbie's pain and that of her family. I know their hearts are broken and that they are devastated. I also felt a deep sense of personal disappointment that Lee would not be physically present to see our son, David, who had been her Montessori student for three years, be married in just a few weeks. What contributed to my sadness was the realization that David would never have that special reunion with his first school teacher who had lovingly kept him in her heart.

Lee's spirit is vital, filled with compassion, humor, joy and love. Everyone will miss her, of this, I am sure. I ache for her precious Chester, her golden doodle and her beloved companion. I know Chester is confused, hurting and dearly missing Lee, though he is protected and safe as he now shares his life with Debbie, her husband and their dogs. Yet, I feel his pain for his "mom." I know how deeply animals grieve their loved ones.

After hanging up from Debbie, the tears just kept coming, until I could hardly breathe. My heart ached and felt as though it had been broken into smithereens. I began having flashbacks of all the others in my life that had died relatively recently, including my parents, other friends and my patients with whom I had worked for many years.

I have always known that with each present loss we experience, the vibration of our pain causes our cells to reverberate with similar vibrations of multiple past losses. Somehow feeling the pain we felt in the past paradoxically hurts and soothes us in the present moment. It reminds us of how heartbroken we were and that we had wondered how we would ever be able to go on. It also reminds us that, somehow, we did survive. All of this rose up for me as I released my pain and felt my sorrow.

What kept coming to mind was how much she had loved and cared about me, and how fortunate I had been to have her in my life all these years. But saying goodbye is neither acceptable nor easy. How grateful I was that we had our lunch together just weeks ago. We had never had such a long lunch – three hours – and it went so quickly! We probably would have kept going if the restaurant had not emptied out while we were chatting, leaving us feeling a bit conspicuous.

I found it comforting to learn that Lee died in her safe room, upstairs in her home, with her Chester by her side, surrounded by photos of her family and her husband, Walter, who had died many years before. And while I knew that her Guardian Angel was with her to lovingly guide her on her journey and that she would be assisted, as well, by Walter and loved ones, I felt sad that no one was there to hold her hand or give her a hug. Yet, I felt that her God was good to her in that she died in a place she loved and that her death was quick. She was not one to ever wish to be a burden to anyone else. She died as she lived – with her dignity in place. I knew this was a good thing.

I know, too, that as I write this, she is aware of everything I have been thinking and writing, and she is listening to the vibrations of my heart. She is Love and I know she will always be available to me. I will always smile – my heart will always smile – whenever I think of this beautiful, delicious, leprechaun-like soul who loved life, loved humanity and always made you feel you were special. What an amazing role model she has been for those of us who loved, admired and have been inspired by her!

Lee, I know your love and spirit will be with me through eternity. I love you, dear, sweet Lee, more than I can possibly ever express in words.

For those of you who are reading this and presently experiencing the challenge of loss, my heart goes out to you. May you balance your pain with light and joy, enabling you to find peace and healing.

Love & Healing,

Susan Apollon
©2013  Susan Barbara Apollon

The Purpose Of Life: Live Like You Are Dying, Loving, Accepting And Healing What Is… (#3)

June 22, 2010 · Filed Under Purpose of Life · 1 Comment 

 

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is. I believe in the latter"   ~Albert Einstein

Kristine Carson, wife of Richard Carlson (author of Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff), writes in If You Had An Hour to Live, “Grieving is the ultimate act of love, or, at least, it can be. Love holds all possibilities, and that includes bliss in the face of immeasurable suffering and gain through loss.” Her point is that despite the grief and loss you experience, the quality of your Love determines whether you decide to choose to move into the pain and suffering associated with the darkness of grief – or into the warmth, peace and joy associated with the energy of the loving light.  Your life’s purpose is a function of the choices you make. You are exactly where you are supposed to be because of the choices you make. Again, do your best and choose wisely!

Miracles are occurring all the time and Love is at the heart of miracles, according to the book, A Course in Miracles. Because we vibrate at such a high level energetically, when we choose Love in the form of Kindness and Loving Compassion for both ourselves and others, the body’s the immune system functions better (especially when dealing with a life-threatening illness or a significant loss).  Perhaps this, again, is what motivates Tug McGraw’s character in his popular country song, Live Like You Were Dying, to want to go skydiving, fishing, bull riding and mountain climbing, as well as wishing to practice forgiveness. Loving oneself certainly includes following your hopes, dreams and long-lived passions, without the burden of anger and resentments.

As a researcher of miracles, and one who has witnessed real-life miracles, I have personally seen the stunning consequences, such as remissions and disappearances of different kinds of cancers, in my patients who have chosen to live fully in the moment, while treating themselves and others compassionately and lovingly. By choosing to take the time to become conscious of any thoughts or issues to which you have been attached and then detaching and practicing forgiveness, you shift your energy to a level which feels absolutely wonderful and initiates the release of valuable endorphins which enhance the functioning of your immune system.

Choosing to Face (acknowledge), Embrace (feel) and Replace your uncomfortable feelings such as anger, hurt, resentment, rage and disappointment, with more loving thoughts  enables you to live more freely, without self- criticism or judgment. Miracles have everything to do with you choosing to see a situation or person from a more loving, kind and forgiving perspective. A change in perspective is often considered a miracle! For example, once you recognize that how you choose to think about your Uncle Fred really determines how you feel about him; if you choose to focus on how sweet he is rather than how annoying he can be, you actually feel much better, due to the release of needed endorphins. This is how easy it is!

A hero and mentor of mine, psychologist, scientist, author and survivor of two serious cancers, Paul Pearsall, states in Making Miracles, “Making miracles depends on understanding the profound truth that our perceptions create our reality and that there is always another view of every issue.” By choosing to live like you were dying, that is by detaching from anything that does not feel good and accepting what is, you will find yourself experiencing greater peace, joy and an overall enhanced quality of life. According to Pearsall, “Things-including miracles- do not just happen to us; we make them happen!”This is the power of your mind and your ability to choose to accept what is. This is your healing power!

“Making miracles is a matter of developing vigilance for the miracles all around us. If we are open to the miracles right under our very noses, and if we become miracles observers and unashamed practitioners of miracology, we are…much more likely to participate in the making of our own miracles.”   ~Paul Pearsall, Ph.D, Author of Making Miracles

 

Susan Barbara Apollon

Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”

Intuition Is Easy & Fun

©2010 Susan Barbara Apollon

The Purpose Of Life: Live Like You Are Dying, Loving, Accepting And Healing What Is… (#2)

May 28, 2010 · Filed Under Purpose of Life · Comment 

“Don’t spend a lot of time imagining the worst-case scenario. It rarely goes down as you imagine it will, and if by some fluke it does, you will have lived it twice.”

Michael J Fox, Author
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future.

When faced with challenges of illnesses, loss, grief and trauma, we often grow emotionally, mentally and spiritually – and sometimes, we even heal physically! All of us are born as wise beings who forget our wisdom during the journey of life so that we learn lessons needed to rediscover who we are; that is, that we are loving, wise beings and that we are here for Love – Unconditional Love of Self and Unconditional Love of others.

Looking for our life’s purpose is rather interesting. Have you noticed that you can be feeling peaceful and fine and the moment you focus on your thought that you have not found or are seeking your life’s purpose, you begin to feel a sense of being out of balance, as though you are missing something? But, you were feeling whole and balanced until your mind had you paying attention to the thought that something was missing! Dying or grieving and dealing with an illness like cancer forces you to recognize what truly makes you happy – and balanced – as well as what your life purpose may be.

Being at peace comes with you becoming aware of the need to accept and unconditionally love whatever the situation, moment or circumstances may be. When my patients begin to be conscious of what they are holding onto (often something from the past) which causes them pain, suffering and discomfort, they know they have a choice and that whatever they choose to focus their energy on will determine, for them, whether they get to feel good or not good – which leads to their possibly restoring balance and well-being to their lives.

In the May issue of Reader’s Digest, Michael J. Fox, during an interview, shares lessons learned from his illness, Parkinson’s Disease. His words reinforce the power of your choice: “When things do go bad, don’t run, don’t hide. It will take time, but you’ll find that even the gravest problems are finite, and your choices are infinite.”

In the same article, Michael J. Fox provides the following excerpt from his new book, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Future, which validates how crucial it is to accept whatever the loss is. He states: “I was really trying to hide from myself. But with no escape from the disease, its symptoms, and its challenges, I was forced, after exercising in vain all other options, to resort to acceptance, which simply means acknowledging the reality of a situation. As my acceptance grew, I came to understand that loss is not a vacuum. If I didn’t impulsively try to fill the space it creates, it gradually began to fill itself, or at least present choices.

Healing, then, often does not begin until you face the threat of significant loss or illness. Why is it that we do not stop ourselves in our tracks when we are out of balance until we come face to face with something that feels catastrophic? Again, the wisdom of the Buddhists needs to be considered: Live your life as though you were dying. When you remember this advice, you live very differently, very intentionally and very meaningfully – and you choose wisely.

For example, when the doctor tells you that you may be dealing with an illness such as cancer, you may find yourself experiencing either fear of the unknown – including thoughts of possibly dying – or you find yourself suddenly reflecting on all the desires , hopes and dreams you have been planning for – and wishing you had done something more about them. No two people respond in the exact same way. Some may wish to get right down to the business of receiving treatment. Others choose to quickly assess what they have or have not accomplished regarding their lifetime goals. Others quickly and insightfully recognize that the issues to which they were attached, dealing with anger and resentments, need to be immediately released – if there is to be peace of mind, body and spirit. To live like you are dying, choose what feels right at the level of your heart, but, if possible, choose what fills you with joy, passion, enthusiasm, and, of course, Love.

What I know for sure is that when you recognize that you are an energetic being and you choose to focus on anything that represents loving energy, especially Love of yourself, as well as Love of others, you experience inner peace and contentment- even during the most challenging of times. The reason for this is that Love is the highest of energies and has the capacity to enhance your physiological, emotional, mental and spiritual states. Therefore, when you need to confront fearful thoughts related to the possible loss of someone or something, choose to fill with thoughts of Love. In the words of a renowned physician and author, Jerald Jampolsky, “Love is letting go of fear.”

Susan Barbara Apollon

Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”
& Intuition Is Easy & Fun

©2010 Susan Barbara Apollon


Lessons Learned From Grief And Trauma (Part 3)

August 25, 2008 · Filed Under Healing Wisdom, The Power of Love · 1 Comment 

8. The pain of a loss or trauma is locked into your cells. Healing requires that you balance your pain with thoughts of a lighter energy. Give yourself permission to focus on what makes you laugh, even if you do not feel like laughing! Balance your pain with time to watch a comedy or time to meet and be with friends (push yourself if you feel you can’t or don’t want to do this). By doing this, you are helping you immune system recover and be able to better protect you from the aftermath of your loss or trauma.

9. With grief and trauma, often come an outpouring of expressions of care, compassion, kindness, love, and prayers. Allow yourself to be deeply touched by such a showering of love. This can forever transform you so that you become more aware of the choice you can make to be equally caring, loving and kind. You may find that you are becoming aware, also, of the power of your own love, appreciation and gratitude for your blessings. Take time to express your heartfelt thanks. This, too, expedites your healing process.

For example, patients and friends have frequently shared with me how moved they are when they are ill and another close and dear friend who just sustained the loss of a loved one calls to see how they are doing. When you step out of your own pain and are present for another in pain, you heal yourself and contribute to the healing of others.

“We either make ourselves miserable or we make ourselves strong. The amount of work is the same.” Carlos Castaneda

Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”

©Copyright 2008 Susan Barbara Apollon

See Part 1 of Life Lessons Learned In Healing From Grief And Trauma

Life Lessons Learned In Healing From Grief And Trauma – Part 1

August 7, 2008 · Filed Under Healing Wisdom · 1 Comment 

Recently, our good friends’ son, a young man we watched grow up, died in a freak accident and another dear friend was hospitalized with septicemia and was suddenly fighting for her life. My patients, friends and family can testify to the quirkiness of life – one minute all is well and the next, your life is totally upside down. Each time you experience a loss or trauma, you are reminded that life is a precious gift. This awareness is the first lesson learned in dealing with any type of loss or tragedy.

However, when difficult situations with others arise, you often fail to remember that you have a choice as to how to view the meaning of the loss or trauma. Frequently, tragedies, losses (of any kind, including loved ones, home, health, job or dreams) and life-threatening events are viewed from the negative perspective. While this is understandably part of the initial grieving process, you slow down your healing by spending needed energy viewing the situation as negative rather than positive in the months and years that follow the crisis.

Why is this? Perhaps, it is the fear that what has happened to another can happen again, and, perhaps, it is because you focus on the experience as a loss and, therefore, you spend more energy dwelling on the pain of separation from your loved one or anything you particularly value. The nature of human beings is that we tend to obsess more about our worries, anxieties, losses and negative life events than we do about those that are positive, joyful and which we may consider to be our blessings.

The truth is that the way you perceive a situation powerfully influences the healing of your body, mind and spirit. Remember that how you perceive a situation is a choice. How you choose to view or think about your situation dete rmines the path your healing will take.

“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”…Albert Einstein

LIFE LESSONS LEARNED FROM GRIEF AND TRAUMA

I offer you the following suggestions to assist you in healing from grief and trauma. They are based on the lessons learned by my own patients.

1. Give yourself permission to truly feel your pain. Healing from trauma and grief does take time. It is an experience that affects every aspect of you, including your identity, thoughts, feelings, body and spirit. No matter how you try, your Higher Self will demand that you do the work of grief. Trying to escape the pain does not serve you. Healing is expedited when you do the best you can to express it, feel it and let it go. (CONTINUED)

Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”
©Copyright 2008 Susan Barbara Apollon

Tips For Helping The Grieving, The Ill And Ourselves! -Part 1

July 18, 2008 · Filed Under Healing Wisdom · Comment 

It does not matter what you do in life; the only thing that matters is that you do what you do with love.” Elisabeth Kubler Ross

Life is deliciously filled with a mixture of joy and sorrow. At times, it feels uncomfortably weighted with more pain as a result of learning that others, including friends and family, are dealing with illness, as well as issues involving death, dying trauma and grief. At such times, we are left feeling sad, energetically very low and wondering how we are going to handle being available for everyone who needs us.

Whether you are a young mom or dad with several children or a busy working man or woman with a full time job, when you learn of a friend or loved one who has died or who is very ill, you want to learn how to be present and available, stay uplifted, and yet protect and keep your own energy from falling to dangerous levels.

Remember that what you focus on determines how you feel and how you feel determines your level of energy. So be clear about your intention regarding assisting others in need of your help. Be fully present in your attention when you call to see how they are doing and to offer your services. In other words, while speaking with them, be there with everything you have got. When not with them, place your focus on what feels better.

One suggestion: Take a few moments to sit and breathe deeply, enabling you to be at peace and feel truly relaxed before you pick up the phone to call your friend or loved one, or to actually go and be with him or her either at home or in the hospital. While visiting, be sure to be completely present. Listen attentively to their concerns and their feelings, without trying to deny them or make light of them.

However, you can help by then asking your friend or loved one about other family members, their activities and various other subjects such as vacation plans, how their children are doing in both school and in their sports activities, as well as their holiday plans – all of which are lighter and can help shift the focus to something that feels genuinely better and more uplifting.

Take time to balance the heavy feelings dealing with sadness, pain and/or loss with humor, a necessary antidote. The immune system needs the energetic vibration of humor to produce needed chemicals to help it work effectively. Be sure to bring a joke or humorous story, being sure it is appropriate, because humor expedites healing within the cells of the body. How about a video, DVD or audio to life their spirits and bring a smile or laugh or two to them? (It is good for you, as well!) CONTINUED

Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”

©Copyright 2008 Susan Barbara Apollon

Helping Those Who Can Not Help Themeselves: The Healing Power of Prayer

“Should you pray? If you need to ask, you’ve probably begun.” Larry Dossey, MD

One of the most powerful ways we can live our lives with a deep sense of satisfaction and peace is to give purely, via prayer, from our heart, to individuals who are in dire need of our assistance, including those who are dealing with grief, trauma and loss.

Within recent weeks and months, we have learned of the loss of many thousands of people in Myanmar, due to massive storm and flooding this area has experienced. In China, thousands have lost their lives due to a horrific earthquake. Getting help to these individuals who are trapped, injured, lost and traumatized has been almost impossible, especially for those in the area of Myanmar.

Additionally, many thousands of people in the United States are undergoing horrific losses as raging flood waters have washed away their homes and flooded major cities in the Midwestern part of the United States, causing people to have neither homes, schools or businesses. This kind of devastation on such a large scale has not ever before been witnessed or experienced by American citizens in modern times. – other than 9/11.

Despite the efforts of the Red Cross and others throughout the world, people in other countries are not receiving assistance and thousands of people of all ages are dying. In the United States, the Red Cross and others are doing their best to assist the large numbers of people who are faced with having nowhere to go. You can do something, something very powerful to help these people. You can pray.

I have been researching Mind and Consciousness for many years, including research on prayer and healing. According to a group of quantum physicists, including Albert Einstein, everything in the Universe is energy and vibrates; furthermore, love is one of the highest and most powerful healing energetic vibrations.

Additionally, according to Einstein and his colleagues, your mind has the capacity to connect with and even influence minds anywhere, across time and space. Prayer is the vehicle of the intention of sending love to those in need of such high healing energy.

Part 2…

Susan Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”