When someone you love dearly dies…is joy possible?

In the beginning of the year I knew that my mum’s health was very poorly (read about that part of my journey here) and that she maybe had not much time left. And there is always this feeling of ‘not enough of someone whom we love presence’ in our lives. For me it seems my mum left too early. And yet – it was the perfect timing. Simply because it happened when it happened. My mum died 15th March, in peace and the way she lead her life – privately, choosing the moment when there was no one around. Even though I really wanted to be with her in her last days, hours, minutes, I truly respect what she chose. Yes, I believe the dying always choose the time to go, for reasons that often are known only to them.

Red heartOf course, I felt sorrow and sadness, pain of loss and pain of separation. But during these almost two month after her transition I’ve also felt that I haven’t grieved the way I ‘should’ or thought I would. There has been peace about it and often times I have also felt very happy. Then I just discarded all ‘shoulds’ or ideas about how it has to be and decided to go with what I feel. That’s when my first realization crystallized very clearly.

THERE IS NO DEATH. I’ve believed this since stepping on my spiritual path and since I lost my son (He would have been 20 today). So what’s different now? It’s not a belief anymore. I know it. I know it with every fibre of my being. There are no doubts, no questions about it in my mind. I realized that this knowing is what made such a difference in me moving through this grief.

The second realization goes in line with what changes have happened within me during this time. Intellectually it is nothing new, many people have experienced it, including me in different stages and situations in my life, but it becomes realization because it is felt as if for the first time. And it is the following – HONOUR YOUR PROCESS.

I know that I have a tendency to withdraw if I feel sad and if there’s something dramatic happening in my life. Hence not writing my ezine. Hence not communicating a lot through Facebook or other media. I wanted to be on my own. There were times that I was kind of frustrated about this as grief is my speciality and I should have been more outgoing about my own. Now I feel really good about not forcing myself, about having a lovely friend encouraging me just to be in the moment and trust that inspiration will arise when the time is right. So honouring your process is very much about being totally, radically honest with yourself and others.

My process is to get in energy alignment first and then take some action. There are times when taking action actually puts you in alignment, even if making an effort first feels like ‘going against what I feel inside’. But that’s a different topic. We are multidimensional and very complex beings and what serves in one situation might not serve in another. That also is Honouring the Process in the moment.

Gentle Healing Words I would like to share 10 things I enjoyed during the time after my mum’s passing. Yes, you read correctly – enjoyed. It is essential to acknowledge one’s feelings when going through loss and grief. But what happens often is that people get stuck in that and acknowledging becomes focusing on the loss. Yet, there are things that can help us shift the perspective and see ‘the silver lining’ not as part of positive thinking, the ‘shoulds’ which are ever present, but genuinely looking for upliftment. Acknowledging the pain and loss deeply actually releases the need to focus on it endlessly.

So I will give my list of 10 things I enjoyed and will be drawing some conclusions, kind of guidelines on how to move through grief and loss. Please take and apply to your life what feels good and let fly by those that do not resonate with you.

1. Preparing the place for the funeral. The day before the funeral my oldest son, niece and I, we decorated the garage to hold the ceremony at my mum’s home. Lots of work needed to be done as the garage was used as a storage place. We cleaned everything, made a nice podium to put the coffin on; decorated everything with fire tree branches and arranged lots of candles. There was something really sincere, pure and loving in the way we worked together to arrange mum’s last goodbyes. It’s often more important not what we do, but how we do it, and how it makes us feel. Is it done in love and truth? Is it done in kindness? Does it bring more compassion to the world, not take away from it?

Man is firing a candle2. Ceremony of saying ‘goodbye’ to mum. It was beautiful how mum’s few friends and relatives came together, shared memories and stories, tears and laughter; brought food to share and were able to spend quiet time at mum’s coffin in reflection. During the whole ceremony we played Karunesh music that my mum so much loved. Only later I found out that it’s not such a common thing to play music all the time, at least not in Latvia, but people really enjoyed it. Create your own ceremonies or play out existing ones the way you like.

3. When I came back to the UK I started knitting again. It was a passion of my youth, but for years I hadn’t touched knitting needles. I simply felt inspired to create again in that way and have started with socks. It was my mum who taught me to knit socks and I hold those memories dear. So definitely this connection was the greatest source of inspiration. I listen to lots of talks while I knit, so I feel the time is spent well that way. Most likely I won’t become the greatest knitter ever, but I do enjoy it. Start new activities that you have always wanted to pursue or rekindle old passions.

4. Nettle picking for my smoothies. My mum taught me to use plants that are nourishing, found in our forests or meadows. Her ways of cooking were not very inspiring though, so often I dismissed that knowledge. A few plants stuck in my memory though. Nettles are one of them. I found great recipes of nettle smoothies on the Internet and it gives me great pleasure on a sunny day to collect them. Tastes delicious too! It also has inspired me and has led me to explore healthy eating even more, and I’m sure I will be talking about it in future blogs too. By the way – yesterday I found wild garlic on the river bank. That will be included in my salads for sure. The body is the temple of the soul. Treat it that way! Nourish it with delicious foods and clean water.

Bella5. Our kitten Bella. She is our (me and my partner Tony’s) Xmas present and brings in so much joy, love and laughter. (In picture it’s Bella). Now she’s not a kitten anymore, but, oh, so lovable! Often I find myself on the carpet playing with her like a kid. She’s the source of lots of playful teasing between me and Tony as we ‘fight’ for her love. But the truth is – a pet’s love is unconditional. They express it when and how they like, there is no pretending and there is nothing we are able to control. If you are ok with it, pets are wonderful, wonderful companions when we need comfort, soothing, someone to give our love to, and someone to remind us that there is joy in life.

新緑6. My walks along the river being immersed in the beauty of spring awakening here in the UK. It fills my heart with joy to see how everything is blossoming. Nature is the greatest healer. Allow yourself to feel its healing powers.

7. Talks from the spiritual teacher Matt Kahn. I ‘discovered’ him quite recently and deeply resonate with his teachings. I watch his videos, listen to his talks while walking and I never get bored. He brings the teachings of love and speaks to my soul. Nourish your spiritual aspirations! Nourish yourself spiritually! Go with the teaching that feels right and true to you; with the teaching that not only inspires you to grow and explore your own being, but uplifts you and brings you joy.

8. Spending time with Tony. We go for walks together, watch movies, or sometimes even the odd cricket game. Tony is a big fan. Me? Well, I know exactly where my ‘cricket for super duper dummies’ is on my bookshelf. That’s a start. We both have our interests and activities we do separately, but we also enjoy being in each other’s company very much. Spend time with your living loved ones! One of the biggest regrets when people lose someone they loved is ‘I wish had spent more time together. I wish we had talked more, laughed more, hugged more’. Do it while they are still alive! Be with the people you love!

9. Energy work. I believe doing that, along with Matt Kahn’s teachings, is what allowed me to move through my grief so smoothly. When we lose something or someone we love, our system is under enormous stress. All our resources, physical and emotional, are aimed just at survival. Energy techniques along with self care are powerful tools to deal with that at the core. This is a really big topic and there’s a lot out there, but in the next blogs I will be sharing what has worked for me and my clients in terms of energy systems in the body. With a bit of exploration and trying things out you can find what works for you. Use it consistently!

Love Yourself 10. ‘I love you’ practise. This is absolutely my favourite because it’s so simple, so true and so beautiful. I learned it from Matt Kahn and have been practicing it since. I put my hands on my spiritual heart (in the middle of the chest) and say: ‘I love you’. It simply means sending love to one’s own heart, to embrace our innocence and inner child. It’s not about narcissistic indulgence in self admiration or trying to persuade ourselves that we are lovable. It is loving one’s own heart. Matt says that when we are in pain, we need more love, not less. When we are angry, we need more love, not less. When we have lost someone, we need more love, not less. So why then, already being in pain, do we punish ourselves even more by denying this love? That’s why I have made it my daily practise to send love to my own heart.


  1. Thank you for these words on writing about grief. I have been kepeing a journal for several years now, but before I started this I had already lost or thrown out the diaries I kept as a child. My sister died age 7 in 1980, so I would have liked to be able to look back on what I wrote as I was growing up. I recently decided to start writing a book about my journey through her death and my healing journey to the present and I found it hard going! It’s still on my to do’ list, although, having written only a few pages, has slipped off the top of the pile. If you have any tips for me, I’d appreciate them!

  2. Inga Krastina says:

    Hi Harriet,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. My sister also died at the age of 7 and I believe that broke my mum’s heart more than anything…
    I believe journaling is a powerful healing tool and in your case could it be that along with the grieving terrible loss of your sister, you also have lost your own connections to that time, to what you felt then – your previous journals? I would say that writing journal is about releasing, about freeing yourself, so if that feels like a hard job – I would start there. Does it have to be on ‘to do’ list? Or can you allow yourself just to write without censoring, without analyzing what will come out of that? Can you allow yourself to write without intention to write a book? Is there a way that you can make inner healing your priority, feelings of peace, calm, contentment; not the external product of your journey? If book comes out of that – great! But without setting it as a goal you free your soul’s expression. Does that make sense?

  3. Dear Inga, I love the “10 things you enjoyed” tips. This applies to any loss, whether a death or to divorcing yourself from a marriage or partner consciously or even not of your choice – or when you choose to distance yourself from a relative, an acquaintance or colleague. You hit it on the mark when you advised that the key to peace and joy is releasing your end goal to god or the universe and trusting that all is well and you are in good hands and making choices from a space of love and truth. And I love that you highlight that the way to peace is to find as many ways possible, every day, every minute, to look for the best feelings within you. Things to make you smile and for which you are grateful. I am so grateful that you share your heart in your writings, so that we can all benefit from your super tips and find ways to live each 30 minute segment in love (with ourselves first) and then in love with others. In joy and love, Kathleen

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