Good Grief 1 Learning from the Best You know that famous book All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten? It's about simple yet life-changing advice that the author remembers from his childhood, like "don't hit people," "share everything," and of course, "flush." I mention the book here because its premise reminds me of how I've come to deliver simple yet life-changing messages to my clients--except all I really need to know I learned from channeling God and your loved ones' souls! They're the most amazing teachers and have taught me so much about grief that can help you embrace life after a loved one passes. I feel it's important to credit God and Spirit right off the bat, because it helps explain why I say and recommend what I do. I'm not a therapist or bereavement counselor, and there's probably some etiquette about handling grief that I've never been taught. As a medium, however, my duty is to tell you what Spirit feels will help you carry on without your late aunt, child, or spouse, and this can be very different from what a trained grief counselor might suggest. For example, Spirit needs you to know there's more to life than what's here in the physical world, and that your loved ones are still with you, just in a different way. Now, that's not something most books about grief would drive home, fair enough? Yet this and other guiding principles from Spirit are what truly help my clients repair and rebuild their lives. And while Spirit and I have helped bring hundreds of thousands of clients peace during their grief process, I don't have a ton of heavy, personal experience with this topic in my own life. It's kind of crazy--the first time I lost a close loved one was when my Nanny Brigandi passed away; I was sixteen years old at the time, and then seven years later, her husband, my Pop, died. It was really hard to lose my father's parents. But after that, life gave me a major sabbatical from grief. For almost twenty years I didn't experience a death-related heartache again. What did happen, however, was that I accepted and honed my ability to communicate with all kinds of souls in Heaven, including God, angels, spirit guides, and your departed loved ones who've taught me everything I know. In other words, I learned about healing through the universe's lens, not my own. I was never distracted by my own drama and was forced to stay focused on Spirit's messages. Having nearly two decades of constant, objective, spiritual training was part of God's plan for me--and clearly for you too. Getting the Gist of Grief Since the beginning of my career, I've channeled a theme that runs throughout all of Spirit's messages: "You will grieve your loss for the rest of your life, but healing is something different." What Spirit means here is that you must find ways for your grief and healing to coexist, because no matter how a person dies, you will always have to live without someone you love and that sucks. I think one of the scariest things about death is that it introduces you to ugly emotions you've never felt before--devastation, jealousy, fear, betrayal, abandonment--and they hit you like a ton of bricks. To experience a death that's so close to you might even force you to confront your own mortality for the first time. Grief is especially hard because it's not every day that a situation demands you walk the line between feeling your heaviest feelings so you can heal and trying to protect yourself from getting stuck in a negative place. So instead of doing what's best from the start--processing the loss, honoring your loved one, and carrying on in a positive way--you may end up on a dark and twisted path even when you crave light, direction, and calm. What I love about Spirit's guidance is that their goal is to help heal your soul. From there, they say, everything else will fall into place. For soulful healing to occur, you must realize that your loved ones give you permission to feel the pain, but also ask that you learn and grow from it. They explain that God and your loved ones want you to be happy. As you begin to internalize this, you see the importance of loving yourself and others, functioning with a positive outlook, and staying busy at a pace that feels good. This makes it easier to appreciate the signs your loved ones send and value the rapport you still share, since you trust that the soul bond is never broken. Having an ongoing relationship with the departed then makes it easier to value the living. You increasingly feel supported by souls on this plane and on the Other Side as you figure out your new normal. Grief gradually begins to define less of your day, because while death can be a painful reality for the living, you realize that your loved ones are at peace and their passing was never meant to stop your journey outright. You shed anger and practice forgiveness, and eventually you are able to appreciate the universe's big picture: that everyone's soul is created from God's perfect love, and our purpose is to use that love to enrich your life and that of others. At first, healing is about surviving heartache; in time, it's about feeling joy despite it. Listen, I'm not saying that any of this is easy. In fact, Spirit says healing from grief is one of the hardest obstacles we face on earth, but it's important work that we must all do in this lifetime. Try as you might, nobody escapes this lesson--grief transcends cultures, social classes, education, genetics, and more--because navigating grief is essential to maturing every one of our souls. We gain new understanding, acceptance, compassion, and a better ability to communicate with the Other Side when we grieve. We are here on earth to learn and grow, and unfortunately grief is a means to that end. It is a rite of passage for the soul. Practicing What I Preach A few years ago, I was finally able to apply Spirit's teachings to my own grief process. I should have known Spirit wouldn't let me off the hook for too long! While my maternal grandmother, Gram, was the first person to pass after my little grief hiatus, it was actually her husband's death that had the potential to emotionally wreck me if I hadn't taken Spirit's advice into consideration. When my mom called to tell me that my grandfather, who we called Gramps, wasn't doing well, I rushed to the hospital for a visit. I was in the middle of taping my TLC show Long Island Medium, and even in four-inch heels, I got there pretty fast! Right away, I felt Gram's soul in the room and knew she was there to help him cross over. I said to Gramps, "It's OK to go with Gram now." He was weak and lethargic that day, but managed to shake his head no. Gramps was always stubborn, so I don't know why I thought his passing might be any different! And though the next day Gramps was strong as an ox--sitting up, eating well--his burst of energy didn't last. The following morning Gramps died. I did not get to say a final good-bye to my grandfather, who passed from complications from end-stage renal disease. Now, somebody else in my sparkly shoes might have felt haunted by Gramps's death--maybe upset about not visiting when he was at his best or regretful about not being with him when he died--but because I'd learned about grief for all those years, I was better able to cope. For one, I knew that our loved ones never want us to feel any burdens, guilt, or regrets around their passing. So instead of getting upset that I didn't get to see Gramps full of piss and vinegar, I thanked God that our final visit was as good as it could be that day. And while I wasn't with him when he passed, I also remembered that if Spirit says you're not in the room at the time of a death, that soul did not want to leave you with the burden of seeing its body take its last breath. I believe this is the case with Gramps. I've also followed Spirit's advice in how I celebrate and remember Gramps to this day. I try to stay positive for the rest of the family, since this is what Gramps would have wanted, and regularly honor his memory. I'm quick to talk about how playful yet ornery Gramps could be, and every time I order his favorite split pea soup at the local luncheonette, I think of him and know his soul is with me as I do. When I miss Gramps, I remind myself that Spirit says, "The only thing that's been broken is our physical connection. Our soul bond will never end," and I know from channeling Spirit that I will see Gramps again when he greets my soul in Heaven. Until then, Gramps wants me to live in a way that makes me feel happy and spreads positivity to others. I grieve Gramps every day, but doing this under Spirit's wing has helped me acknowledge his passing and feel appreciative of all we shared during this lifetime. I'm not meant to be the only one who absorbs and practices Spirit's healing lessons! God and your loved ones want this for you too. And while Spirit says our destiny is set, our freewill choices are what fill in the details of our lives. How you recover from loss is one such decision, and it impacts the strength of your eternal soul. Look, I know it's broken into a million pieces right now. But it would be an honor and a privilege if you allowed me and Spirit to help you put it back together. What do you say? Healing Moments Even if you don't change out of your plaid pajamas, you're going shopping today. I'd like you to buy a journal that you'll use to work through some of your feelings, thoughts, and memories as we move through this book together. You will also use this space to complete guided exercises--and honestly, write about any other experiences you have during your grief process too. So find one you really love--red leather, leopard print, a composition book, it's up to you! I want you to enjoy how this journal looks and feels, because it will be one of your most cherished companions as you heal. Excerpted from Good Grief: Heal Your Soul, Honor Your Loved Ones, and Learn to Live Again by Theresa Caputo All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.