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… (#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

Secrets To Finding Bliss And Peace In The Midst Of Dealing With Grief And Loss… Part 3

February 13, 2009 · Filed Under Creating Peace & Happiness · Comment 

“If you can find it in your heart to care for somebody else, you will have succeeded.” Maya Angelou

“We give comfort and receive comfort, sometimes at the same time.”

Losing someone or something you love often robs you of your sense of purpose and identity, leaving you feeling incomplete and out of balance and harmony. I have always been grateful when my grieving patients have work or a job that pleases them, a pet in need of their loving care and, of course, a family which needs their loving attention. You need to have a purpose, a direction in which to move and something that validates you and fills you with good feelings, especially when you are deeply grieving. You see, even in the midst of dealing with grief and loss, Love is the key to finding bliss and peace.

Bear with me for a moment. Believe me, please, when I tell you that you are a gift to the world; you have come to make a difference, perhaps in some small but significant way, or, perhaps in some larger way. But, the Truth is that you are an amazing, powerful being, who, by choosing compassion, kindness, thoughtful caring and Love, can contribute to the expansion of the world, as well as to that of your own soul. Therefore, I strongly encourage you to choose Love – Love for yourself and Love for others.

Healing from loss of any kind, such as the loss of a job, person, pet or health, does steal from you valuable prana, chi, or whatever you wish to call your energy. When you experience the loss of a child, as well as the loss of any other loved one, including the loss of a pet, you often feel traumatized, anxious and/or depressed, you pull back socially and you lose your sense of confidence and desire to do anything that used to bring you pleasure. However, while in the throes of you grieving your loss, you have the power to choose to focus on something which will lift you, bringing you a sense of long lost peace.

The greatest healing of your soul comes when you choose to love yourself enough to choose to do for others who are in need of your assistance While it is imperative that you give yourself time to focus on what it is you grieve or miss, also choose time to focus on someone or something which becomes a reason or purpose for your life or existence which, in turn, enables you regain and reclaim your sense of purpose, identity, your lost sense of self-esteem and a healthy immune system.

You have so many choices available to you. Healing grief and experiencing bliss can occur when making a meal for a sick neighbor, organizing a bake sale or book fair to collect funds for a needy family or charity. And, you feel so good when you have been able to be a part of a soup kitchen or collect food and blankets for the needy.

Whatever you choose, make it your passion and something that excites every cell of your being. Your body loves the energetic vibrations of the enthusiasm and excitement you feel when you are passionate. Passion leads to the release of wonderful chemicals which help you feel more joy, peace and bliss.

No matter what you choose to do to express your passion, you will find that it will lead to you experiencing a greater sense of value, purpose and direction, as well as the release of the most wonderful endorphins and other neuropeptides. Due to the glorious mind-body connection, you will find yourself experiencing moments of being on a natural high, sometimes called the zone. Yes, even in the midst of your losses, you can regain and enjoy feelings of bliss and peace. It is all a function of the loving choices you make.

Bliss and peace are such high vibrational experiences. There are numerous other suggestions which contribute to increased peace and bliss when dealing with the awareness of your losses. For example, if concentration is not an issue, you may lose yourself in a wonderful book; journal your feelings, insights, and whatever fills your heart, mind and body; play your favorite music or musical instrument; play with your pet or go into nature All of these will certainly contribute to your feeling lighter, more peaceful, more harmonious and whole. It is, as always, a matter of choice – and the choice for Love.

Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”

©2009Susan Barbara Apollon

Secrets To Finding Bliss And Peace In The Midst Of Dealing With Grief And Loss… Part 2

February 5, 2009 · Filed Under Creating Peace & Happiness · 2 Comments 

“As you get older, you see the difficulties people have and you see their spirituality so much more.” George Michael

No matter how difficult loss may be for you, be it your grieving special time or situation from the past, a loved one, a place, a job, your health, a dream or the loss of a pet, there are things you can do, via the choices you make, which enable you to feel a sense of bliss and peace in the midst of dealing with grief and loss. In healing grief, one wonderful choice you may make is to take some time to meditate and go deep within your own being, to your core, your stillness.

For example, my heart fills with love for those I miss or for whatever it is I feel has separated from me. So, I sit, pray that they be blessed and watched over and, then, in meditation, I go into the stillness. By using my breath, I center, ground and raise my energy to create my gateway into the stillness. There, I experience great warmth, quiet, a sense of being loved and embraced by my loved ones, as well as by my Source (God, for me) and my angels. This leads to feelings of exquisite bliss and peace, even as I grieve.

In this place, deep within my being, during meditation, I can choose to merge with what I call the Oneness (or All That Is), sometimes called the Field or the Collective Unconscious, the Universe or God. I come to the stillness, deep within me, at my core, sometimes because I feel, from my clinical research and experience, that my loved ones are a part of this place and, here, in the still, gentle, beautiful stillness, I can be and speak with all my loved ones who have passed on.

In this peaceful place, I also feel that I am with my Source, which for me, is God, but, for you, it may be Buddha, Jesus, Universal Energy, Mary, or whatever you wish Source to be. Here I am in bliss and feel greatly comforted. In fact, I often find myself becoming emotionally moved and tearful when I enter this state. It is so healing.

Also, healing from loss is expedited by talking about loved ones who have “died” and by remembering them with your friends and family. In this way, you connect with them, with their essence, their legacy, their spirit and their love. Yes, you are blessed with the ability to feel their love once again, just by choosing to remember the many wonderful moments of the time you shared with them.

You are drawing their energy to you, the energy of a loving connection, the energy of Love. Love (according to scientists such as David Hawkins) is such a high energy that when you experience it, you feel so good, even blissful and peaceful. You can’t get better than that!

Even if the moments with those you grieve were not always wonderful, you can choose to view your relationships with them from your Higher or Soul’s perspective, sometimes referred to as the Observer’s vantage point. From here, you can lovingly observe the role that relationship played in your life, perhaps recognizing that if they had not been who they were, you would not have made choices which contributed to your being who you are now, in this present moment.

If you experienced difficulties or challenges with your loved one, consider expressing your gratitude, appreciation and heartfelt thanks to him or her because those challenges provided you with opportunities for valuable learning experiences, as well as the resistance you needed to become who you are today. Thank them from your heart for the lessons you learned while traveling this lifetime with them.

Honor them. I doubt I would be writing this had it not been for the tougher moments that I encountered in the early years of my life, situations which created the resistance I needed to grow to be who I am.

Choose to recognize that your loved ones did the best they could and that they most likely did this from their love for you, no matter what mistakes they made! A most important point here is that by choosing to forgive them for any unresolved hurts and pain, you are enhancing your chances of experience feelings of greater peace and bliss. Love and forgiveness go hand in hand,When we truly love, we can and do forgive, and peace and bliss are the natural, wonderful consequence of this process. TO BE CONTINUED

Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary

©2009Susan Barbara Apollon

Secrets To Finding Your Bliss And Peace In The Midst Of Dealing With Grief And Loss

January 24, 2009 · Filed Under Creating Peace & Happiness · Comment 

“God is closest to those with broken wings.” Jewish saying

Have you noticed that there are times when it seems that your sense of grief and loss seems particularly overwhelming? For some reason, more deaths tend to come around the holidays, be it Christmas, Thanksgiving or Easter. The loss of a child, as well as the loss of a spouse, parent, sibling, friend and, certainly, the loss of a pet, will bring up other losses in your lives (losses that feel vibrationally the same), including the loss of dreams, purpose, jobs, health and identity.

So, as you start the New Year, many of you have either recently experienced some form of loss or have been reminded of multiple past losses. In other words, you know that you are deeply missing and grieving for your family or friends or whatever significant experience that had once been a part of your life.

I remember that sometime in early December, while putting in exhausting hours, trying to complete several projects before the year’s end, my mind wandered to my mom and dad, and I suddenly found myself falling to my knees ( fortunately my office is carpeted ), crying into my apron and screaming aloud, “Where are you? Where are you?”

My parents, Simmy and Harry, had died at the same time of year – during the winter holidays. Those who know me will be surprised I should ask such a question, given the courses I teach and the books I write which deal with spirituality and healing from grief and loss.

You see, I know with every cell of my being that death is a matter of transformation of energy – that it is the energy of the body which is transformed and which is most often present for us, as soul energy, soon after the loss of the physical body. My research and clinical work have confirmed for me that our loved ones frequently continue to be energetically present for us whenever we are dealing with loss, which occurs especially during the first year following the loss, and is usually a part of the second, as well.

But, I miss my parents, just as you miss your loved ones, and while I know they are spiritually and energetically available to me, every once in awhile, I would love to hold them, hug them, be their little girl, once again, and talk with them. You know what I mean. Even 15 years after my mom’s death and two years after my dad’s, I want to call them and share the newest, most wonderful events in our children’s lives, the grandchildren they adored, and I have also wanted them to physically share our holiday dinners and celebrations with us.

So, in the midst of dealing with grief and loss, what can you do to feel more peaceful and blissful? While there many ways which enable you to re-establish an inner sense of balance and harmony, whatever you do, it must feel right for you in that moment. For example, simply give yourself permission to cry while looking at photographs and momentos of your loved ones

Talk to them wherever you the feelings seem to overpower you. Sometimes, I talk to them while seated at my kitchen table, while driving alone in my car (not so odd looking these days, given that people are always talking on their cell phones) or while doing the dishes.
I talk to my deceased loved ones, sometimes mentally, sometimes verbally, telling them what is in my heart. Again, my research and the work of quantum physicist, Albert Einstein, and his colleagues, have taught me that everything is pure energy and vibrates, including us, our thoughts and our loved ones from whom we have been separated. They, therefore, are well aware of our thoughts and feelings, again, because everything is energy and vibrates.

Furthermore, because of the power of your loving connection with those you grieve (love being one of the highest energetic vibrations), they are very aware of what you feel within your heart, which you express through your words and thoughts (all pure energy – the energy of love). Personally, I experience a sense of bliss and peace and am comforted by the thought that my deceased loved ones know and feel the love that I feel for them both in my heart and throughout my entire being. TO BE CONTINUED

Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”

©2009Susan Barbara Apollon

Life Lessons Learned In Healing From Grief And Trauma – Part 2

August 8, 2008 · Filed Under Healing Wisdom · 1 Comment 

When we come to the last moment of this lifetime and look back, the only thing that’s going to matter is ‘What was the quality of our love?’” Richard Bach

2. Be open to changing your perspective! The experience of grief and trauma can contribute to your changing your thinking about what is truly important in life. For example, following the occurrence of a significant tragedy or loss, you may find yourself amazed at the decreased importance and attention you give to what were formerly valued items, perhaps a fancy car, china or clothing, or to participation in previously favored activities, such as sports, your job, traveling or entertainment.

3. Recognize the importance of Love in your life’s journey. You may even learn from your pain and suffering that the only thing that really matters is the person you love and your loving relationship with this individual. My husband taught me this years before we married (some 44 years ago!). Walking along a boating dock, the little bag I held that contained his rings and watch slipped from my hands, went through the boards and into the water, never to be seen again. I cried profusely, feeling great guilt, and will always remember his words: “Don’t worry, Susan. The only thing that matters is you. I can replace the jewelry; I can’t replace you.” His love touched, healed and soothed my pain of disappointing him!

4. In dealing with the pain of a tragedy, loss or grief, healing occurs as you discover that you are much stronger than you thought you were. Suddenly, being forced into roles that your ill or deceased loved ones once held, be it holding down a full-time job, paying the bills, maintaining your home or car, or creating your social life, you may find that you are now taking responsibility for areas of your life that you previously felt you were unable to handle.

5. With your new- found sense of personal strength, you may learn that you are more powerful than you had thought, more capable and more resilient. This new awareness may enhance your self-esteem, self-confidence and your belief in yourself. All of these are gifts because they come at a time when you are left feeling powerless, frightened and worried about your ability to survive. Tragedy often validates your ability to be a survivor, one who can handle whatever curve ball may come your way. My patients have repeatedly shared their awareness with me of how much braver and more courageous they feel they are, having proved to themselves they can survive without their loved ones

6. You learn that there are questions that better serve you than asking “Why did this happen?”, a normal response to such events. By asking “What is this teaching me?” and “What is the lesson I need to learn here?”, you find that you have an enhanced ability to cope with such stressful experiences.  For example, such questions often move us from perceiving ourselves as victims to realizing that we have the resources to deal with such challenges. They also move us along in our having a sense of purpose, despite our angst and pain.

7. View the events as challenges or opportunities to learn valuable life lessons; patience, courage, compassion or forgiveness. Asking the previously mentioned questions helps you become more conscious of which life lessons you are here to learn. This, in turn, again, leads to a stronger sense of connection with your own Higher Power or God, as well as a change in your perspective about the meaning of such losses and traumas. Allow your perspective to become broader, inviting in more wonderful possibilities about life, its purpose and whether life continues in a somewhat different form; allow this change in perspective to soothe and heal the pain of your broken heart. (TO BE CONTINUED)

Susan Barbara Apollon
Author of “Touched By The Extraordinary”

©Copyright 2008 Susan Barbara Apollon