Loss of a Child - Integrating the experience of death and loss of a child
Q: Four years ago my beloved 17-year-old son died. He was missing for four long and terrible days and then was found drowned in the lake where he was having a party with friends, but no one saw how it happened. For me, it was, on the one hand, a deeply traumatic experience, which has shattered me completely in a way that I am still struggling to put myself together again and to find orientation and new purpose in life. I say “new” because I am not the same person I was before, so I cannot go on as before. On the other hand, it was a very strong spiritual experience, and I felt such a strong bond with my son’s soul, as well as with the Divine, with eternity, beyond the boundaries of life and death. This is hard to explain. Sorry, English is not my native language. It has brought me to a core, but I do not really know yet what the core is. It’s like in a dream — it feels calm, full of love and the certainty that all that happens is good.
My problem and, as well, my question is: How can I integrate these two different poles of experiencing: loss and death? The material body, mother experience, which has this terrible, unbearable pain, which almost kills me and, on the other hand, the soul, divine, spiritual experience of eternal, divine connection and love?
I am sorry for your loss and I’m fully aware that these words can never adequately express that, what you went through. And no words can ever adequately express and ever convey what the mother goes through when she loses her child. It doesn’t matter what age.
And since you’ve asked me — since you’ve entrusted this question to me, then I will speak this. And I will speak this with the same directness with which you have written, by the way, beautifully and very, very deeply insightfully, eloquently and movingly, despite the fact that English is not your native tongue.
First of all, you need to understand that, again, at every respective level of creation, there are different laws — different governing laws. At different levels of creation, there are different levels of awareness, and at times experiences such as these, such unbearably shaking experiences such as this, give us no choice but to be courageous to see it from the ultimate perspective, so that the understanding then begins to seep in and through all the other layers of creation. The first and foremost understanding, that this life, or what we call life, and this death, or what we call death, doesn’t belong to that which we wish to hold. And this is where understanding balances, where it almost requires inhuman power to penetrate into that; yet, it’s very simple. Life and death belong but to the one who is the giver of that life and death; therefore, there is no one who is losing or loses anyone here. The loss belongs to a different level of creation. The one who comes in and the one who inevitably is taken out only temporarily experiences that sense of ownership, and that belongs both to the son and the mother, to anyone. When this understanding somehow enters, tremendous peace comes; a tremendous sense of acceptance comes — that kind of acceptance that you already had the foretaste of, when you spoke of that soul, divine spiritual experience of eternal, divine connection and love.
It is, indeed that — life and death are just two sides of the same metal of this existence. It’s the same coin — two sides to existence — they go hand in hand. And very often the experience of death in any form intensifies the gift of being alive or the gift of living. The sheer obsession with death on the blue screen in our entertainment could be linked to that, that in the so-called countries where there is stability, prosperity, relative prosperity and so forth — relative peace on a daily basis — it’s as if we need some kind of reminder. I’m not talking about exposure or unconscious desire for violence. This is something else, but that understanding that the life of your son — just as your own life — is not yours to begin with, is what can bring a tremendous sense of serene acceptance of that what otherwise would always be felt as unbearable loss. The loss is being felt at a different level of creation — at a different level — yet at a different level of your being, you know that nothing is being lost. You know that, and that is the terrifying power beneath these kinds of experiences.
I want to share with you something very, very private in this case. And private also here is synonymous with personal. It may be considered counter-productive by some. After all, you are asking me here, as someone who is in a position to offer you some solace, some guidance. And it is not up to me, or not up to a standard, to speak from a place of the personal. However, in this case, this hopefully might be of some help.
I, too, have, as this human being, experienced the loss of a child. She was six-years-old when that happened, and I was in my mid-twenties. When I learned of the death of my daughter, at that very moment, at that very instant when a recognition on the mental level took place long enough or short enough for the heart to sink into the gut, and, as if being pierced by an iron spear, I fell to the ground — and in this very moment when I fell to the ground, I had the direct experience of Divinity.
I spoke about it before on some other occasions when I spoke about this in terms of addressing that — whatever that is — God — I was not a believer prior to that which I had to go through. But I never spoke about it in terms of this utterly incomprehensible, mind-bending simultaneous experience of the Divine that was perceptible even on the cellular level. It’s not that I experienced this immediate connection to God — it can sound all too religious. What I experienced is the instantaneous connection to the eternity of life, just as what you have written here.
And it is the only reason why I speak about it because I sense in your own words that that is what you have gone through. And that is the terrifying power of experiences such as this, that it can restore this profound sense of being lost to the precious gift of what life is. And experiences like this come as an immediate remedy, as a reminder. Alas, the sacrifice may seem unbearable, but it is through these sacrifices that Consciousness restores Itself, often to the plane of existence where this is being forgotten. Therefore, there is nothing to regret when we fully see and when we fully open to that which has been given to us or for us to experience.
You ask me how to integrate this. You are already integrating this experience. So, my only advice here, my only suggestion here is to understand, just simply have that understanding, that at one level — at that ultimate level of who you are beyond your identification with being the mother, being the body, being this human being — everything is absolutely fine, just as you said. Everything happens for the highest good. The incomprehensible, mind-bending truth of life. No loss; no loss to that which knows no other. And yet, at the same time, on another level — on another level of existence, on another level of awareness where that identification is intact, where that identification by will of God, claims that individual experience, claims that, as if in the highest contrast to that other Divine Oneness — there will always be that sense that, for what you rightly said, that life can never be the same. It can never be the same. It is exactly like that.
When we go through these kinds of experiences, there comes a very clear, clear message also received with clarity, that life will never be the same. And it is good. Let it be as it is being felt. Let life not be the same. Let life never be the same. Let life not be lived in vain. And these experiences are here for that. They are the greatest, greatest offerings into what this life is. Not that we wish them for anyone; not that we wish them for ourselves if we have any other choice, any other preference whatsoever. So just bear that in mind, that at a different level of creation there was no loss and no one suffered that loss. And at another level of creation, that loss is unbearable, but because of that loss, the connection to that Ultimate has that bridge made of light. Walk that bridge. It belongs to you rightfully. It is your bridge; not yours in terms of your loss, but because something happened in Consciousness, for Consciousness’ sake; for the sake of the Self. Let that be the highest solace. And may you find the deepest peace and acceptance in what you have to go through.
~ Igor Kufayev, Online Darshan transcribed Q&A Mallorca, July 22, 2017