I'm trying to understand the main issues affecting me with grief and loss such as: Guilt, Betrayal, Judgement, Punishment and Trust and starting off the series with my thoughts on Judgement.
This is a difficult question to answer, in fact there is only one way to know for sure, but I have been trying to analyse the question, who knows, someone might have a better idea and can help fellow grief travellers out of this quandary.
There are so many phases of grief and they present themselves with different weight and in different ways.
It’s been about a year since I lost my wife, the children lost their mother, her family lost their sister and her friends lost their friend.
I don’t try to imagine or explain how other people feel, so these blogs are about my own feelings and attempts to understand them. We all grieve in our own ways, so I can’t say how to do it, as my grief will be different in many ways. What I can say is that we all have a common feeling, that of loss.
I have been improving slowly, or accepting and adapting might be a better way of putting it, but that doesn’t mean that I am suddenly better, not at all, more like I’m not hiding behind my mask as much and the mask I wear is more like what I am, as opposed to projecting what I want people to see. But I am still troubled with the 5 burdens, namely, Guilt, Betrayal, Judgement, Punishment and trust.
I have been trying to think about these and why I feel the way I do about them. They do influence me every day, sometimes individually and sometimes as a mob, however the effect on my direction of travel is normally to stop and go backwards or capitulate.
Out of all these Judgement and Trust are the greatest foes, so if I could understand them, or at least come to an equal footing, the other three might be easier to deal with.
So here goes, Judgement as I feel it. I sit here at just gone 11pm, scratching my head, slurping on a beer in the hopes that some sense will flow out my fingertips. There are many different ways that Judgement shows its face, one element is relating to the afterlife, another is how I feel that I’m judged by others and lastly how I judge myself
Judgement from afar by her
Why do I feel judgement? It’s a conscious guilt state formed in the brains cortex; it’s not a feeling that can be shared by others. It’s self-generated based on the morality of the subject and your emotional well-being. Its importance is driven by the need or desire to achieve it.
Physically it can’t be seen or monitored; it’s not like a heartbeat which can be artificially created, it can be seen as a neural activity but cannot be read, felt or understood by anyone or anything other than you, so it could be argued that your thoughts are only created in your mind from a living body and when life has passed, the ability to assimilate a conscious thought also dies.
Normally you live with the consequences of your actions and the judgement awarded you by those that think they know better. That’s because you can interact with those judging. You can stand or argue your ground in an attempt to justify why you did it.
When you have lost a loved one, it’s difficult to justify your actions to them, you can’t see, feel or gauge the reaction or gain acceptance or justify the reason. To make things worse, you don’t know even if it matters, there may not be a life after life. Your conscious may or may not arbitrate because if she can see what you have done, it may hurt her, then she will never forgive, you literally never. If she can’t see you then it won’t hurt her, so go for it.
This assumes that you think the same way in the immortal world as you do in the mortal world. But how can that be the case. In the mortal world, you are living and the body provides the means to think and act, but when your body has died there are no means to support thought, morality, consciousness.
Having said this, is your consciousness your spirit or soul? Are you a spiritual being having a human experience? And once your body has died your spirit is freed to transcend to another place?
Assumptions need to be made to try and get an answer to judgement and that involves theorising on events that seem to support the existence of a transcended spirit.
The afterlife signs
This will make no sense and no one will ever be able to answer it or actually know, but it still bothers me. This is a hypothetical scenario, just run with it, Carol has gone from this physical world, our lives, and that hurts, hurts hard, but I am getting more and more comfort from things that could be cynically classed as coincidence. If we consider how much is talked and written about things that happen, signs, noises, feelings, smells, dreams and so on and the fact such things have been expressed for millennia, you have to think that there might be something to it. Now I know this will be ridiculed by sceptics and supported by psychics in equal measure and I suppose that each argument has a counter argument, but it all boils down to opinion that neither side actually knows, so as far as I’m concerned it’s just a load of noisy neighbours with me in the middle. The coincidences are very focussed and poignant, for example, and I do have many, but this example is down to white feathers.
There are many trains of thought on this, they are heaven sent, a sign of approval, a way of letting you know that your loved one has successfully progressed to the spirit world, assign that you are on the right path and so on. I don’t want to trivialise any of these, and in fact it gives me comfort to think of these events as exactly that. I have four recent occasions of the appearance of white feathers. Firstly, a feather blew down and travelled along the pavement and rested on my foot. It was witnessed by my neighbour. It could have blown anywhere, at any time and any place, but it didn’t. The second was a few days ago. I have bought a new bike and went for a ride, a single white feather somehow got stuck on a single spoke on my rear wheel and made it all the way home despite the fact at one point I was cycling at 30 mph and it was a 12 mile ride. When I got home, I touched it and it simply fell off. The third time was my second ride, 17miles long varying speeds and in a different place. Yes another single white feather stuck to a spoke on my rear wheel and again just fell off when I touched it. A fourth feather was found stuck to the rear wheel on my third ride out. Different place different time different distance and was found at the end of the journey.
Coincidence or a sign to say that she is pleased I have a new bike and that I’m starting to feel better, who knows?
I have other stories and other bizarre happenings covering different items, and they all seem to be happening this month in particular. One was a message on my watch that I can’t find on any other connected device about a story I haven’t yet written, again witnessed by my neighbour and another where I needed to do something mileage wise at a certain spot on a certain day and by chance it happened within 4/10ths of a mile. Three double meaning songs have come out this month and randomly played at significant places and significant times, and the list goes on.
The point I’m making is this, if these are signs of Carol observing me from afar and telling me things in ways that have for time and memorial been recognised as methods of communication, then a bigger question now has to be considered.
What do I think will cause a judgement issue from afar?
Once again the fact I’m alive, I can think about what I want and use my sub-consciousness to decide if it’s ok or be judged. This can be split into two headings, “Affairs of the heart” and “Anything else”
Affairs of the heart scenario.
This a tricky contentious subject that may or may not have to be dealt with, If you were both alive, to have another relationship would be a sin in all senses of the word, if you were married, bluntly your vows would be broken, you would be judged by many irrespective of the reason behind your relationship failing. However, your vows said “to death us do part”, this we gladly gave to each other without understanding the meaning. You could argue that now I am a widower I am allowed to “move on” but our relationship was not failing; it was strong, nature had a hand in this break up, so we have never betrayed each other.
At this moment I can only offer one side to this dilemma, that of how I feel about it as I’m not seeking to change my widower status, but for the purpose of exploring judgement and giving balance, questions like this need to be investigated and “affairs of the heart” is probably the biggest moral dilemma to consider. Ask me in the years to come, well I might have another view, who knows, I would never had dreamt that I would be writing things like this a year ago, just shows how things change when you don’t expect it, so here goes!
Scenario: The “Moving on statement” say in years to come I chose to find comfort with another female “friend”. If Carol is communicating in a spiritual way, through signs or feelings you could argue that she can see what you are doing to some degree, why else would you get these signs. So if you were drawn to seeking female companionship, what would she think?
Given that your relationship hadn’t failed,
Q. Would she be happy as it was not your fault and you deserve to be happy whilst on earth?
Q. Would she be jealous or hurt if you did “Move on”?
Q. Would she never forgive you if and when your spirits met in the future?
Anything else scenario.
A less contentious subject buy still has moral dilemmas however, if you were both alive, you would probably re-negotiate these awkward situations as they don’t actually involve or threaten your relationship unless they are just done without consent, care or consideration.
Scenario. If I was faced with a decision that I would know needed a discussion as she wouldn’t like what I was suggesting. Once again, you are here and she isn’t, so the discussion cannot be had, therefore the decision is cast in stone at the point it was originaly agreed between you both.
Q. What if I broke a promise made to her, even for a good reason, would I be judged?
Q. Another example may be moving house, if I was to move from the family home and buy somewhere else, would I be judged for leaving our home?
Q. Supposing I bought a pet to keep me company, but refused her request when she was alive, would I be judged even though it would be good company?
Of course this all assumes that a spirit thinks as a living person thinks, but, as mentioned above, emotional consciousness is a product of a living, feeling, and seeing body, is the spiritual world the same as this world or in other words, does your immortal spirit feel, think and judge as the mortal consciousness feels, thinks or judges?
Well this is even trickier as it is purely hypothetical. Does the immortal spirit have the same judgement reservations and fear what mortals would say to them. Or in other words, would I be able to forgive Carol for the scenarios above as and when we eventually meet.
So the conundrum is, if there are so many signs or communications that may or may not be coincidences, not searched for, but freely offered to me at random times, that are to my mind, clearly for me to receive. That then poses the question that some vison is possible from afar, otherwise why do I get them? These sort of signs / experiences are well documented and been happening for as long as time has existed so cannot just simply be ignored, in fact the thought of such an existence is of comfort romanticised by wishful thinking in an attempt to cling on to anything that makes me feel close to her or is just a coincidence and if so why does it bother me so much that at some point in the future in an immortal life I will be judged by her for my actions or inactions?
So what am I to conclude from this? Well the short answer is, at this present moment in time, I don’t want to challenge any of this, there are too many coincidences or signs and not enough scientific or psychic evidence to prove or disprove an alternative life, but if I was forced to take a side, well again at this moment in time, I would put the fear of judgement from afar based on the feelings and events that have presented themselves to me and put those in front of any thoughts I have. I realise that is not healthy, almost paranoid, but the fact I can’t form an opinion on the subject of spiritual judgement says it’s not time to even think about it. Yes a cop out I know, but it’s safe and until such time something happens, if it ever does, so I can hide behind this barrier despite what I feel about it.
Being judged by others.
The questions I ask myself are not easy! Being judged by others dips into a number of feelings and I think I have to remove myself from the current situation of loss and grieving and go back to what I actually feel as a person. Generally we all like to be liked, and I don’t think I’m any different. But what is important to me is I want people to see me for me, not for how much money I have, how new or flash my car is, the clothes I wear or size of house I live in. I’m just a normal bloke and have no interest in material trappings. People will talk about you regardless of all this, so why be bothered about it. However, it does seem to matter to me greatly when it comes to re-building my life after loss, I feel that I will be scrutinised for what I do and the time frame it is done, and the scrutiny will be different from each person, children, brothers and sisters, family and friends.
So why should this be different? Well I think it comes down to if it’s a “person” or “something else” that I’m being judged for. If it’s a “person”, then a number of factors will be chewed over and discussions had, most of which I won’t be involved in no doubt. The judgement will vary dramatically if it’s just an occasional liaison or a relationship of sorts. The judgement will be along the lines of the elapsed time, betrayal of the life I had, what opinions the children, family or friends had, have I forgotten the life I had, is it right or wrong to name a few. Some consideration will be given to what I want, but that would be secondary and of course what if it goes wrong, how much damage will be caused.
If it’s “something else” that I wanted to do that Carol didn’t want me to do, say a purchase, a pet, a move of house, the judgement would be short lived provided that no harm was done in the long term or the status quo isn’t rocked too much.
So how do I feel about being judged by others, well it’s up to me at the end of the day, I’m living this life and provided it made me happy and it did not trample on people’s feelings, hurt anyone, threaten the family, diminish or trivialise the happy life I had or ultimately forget Carol, then what’s the problem? If it was as easy as that hey? Well it isn’t it’s far from it and that’s why I feel I would be judged irrespective of time, need or suitability. So I will just let time, destiny and fate dictate my direction of travel and hope that whatever happens, it will be in the presence of those I hold dear to me so acceptance rather than judgement can be gradually given, but ultimately it boils down to if it’s a “person” or “something else” and whether I can live with my conscious and the judgement from beyond, by others and myself.
How I judge myself
Nothing is easy to answer as it largely applies to the way I feel, my conscious and what my head and heart feel; I may have a different view if these hypothetical scenarios were actual circumstances, but only time will tell. I tend to judge myself as others would judge me but include the spiritual judgement on the assumption that she can still form a judgement as we can in this life.
At this present time I have a number of barriers that prevent me from going forward with any great conviction, namely, guilt, betrayal, punishment and trust, so judgement interacts with all these feelings. In essence, I think of things as though she is here and therefore don’t cross any barriers as they would all hurt her, so I back away, even hide or keep myself away from any situation that would cause me to judge myself or be judged by others. This is mainly driven by the fear of judgment by her from a world that no one knows about. Unfortunately, this condemns me to the life I have.
So here I am, a year later, wiser, accepting the situation but at the same time still very lost. To be honest, for the first time in my life, I wish someone could make the decision for me. My head and heart both know the difference between being lonely and being alone, grieving and mourning. I understand that I am mourning and alone and will live with those for a very long time, but I still grieve and definitely so very lonely. I fear that judgement will keep me in this state, this I have grown to accept but out of all the feelings, loneliness is the biggest fear, and drags me into some pretty dark places which I have learnt to hide behind a convincing mask.
I have to be very careful not to confuse my mental and physical state by allowing any opportunity to remedy my loneliness. Although this would be the single most effective way of helping me get on with the life I have but it has to get passed the thick and tall wall called judgement. Perhaps all these reservations just go to prove that the time is not right to consider anything other than the “now”, the spiritual signs are possibly a confirmation that I’m going in the right direction but not to run before I can walk, there may also be a sign that she is going in the right direction as well?
I have been told that judgement is by one’s self and we will not be judged by anyone in the end if we have tried to be good and had a good moral life. So until I can get some sort of divine answer on life after life or approval by those living that may judge me and even my head and heart agreeing on what is acceptable, we shall just have to try and do what feels right in my own conscious.
It is important to me to share life’s experiences with friends, family or even make new friendships or a pet, and sometimes just with yourself. These will brighten your days and lift your spirits. It doesn’t mean that I’m trying repeat, replace or fill the emptiness in my heart, these are all part of me, and they are my history and have made me stronger.
Enjoyment will not cause a judgment issue, you might struggle with its friends, guilt and betrayal, but it’s not wrong to enjoy, things, company or just stuff! We are social animals and mustn’t lose sight of the fact that we all need someone or something to get by in life, but for the right reasons and in the right time. This is why I should just take each day at a time and instead of battling with judgement, use it as a tool to evaluate my trajectory, speed and eventual destination.
I know this doesn’t give a definitive answer, it’s impossible even the most informed, educated and wise people don’t know, so perhaps we are not supposed to know or understand for a reason. But I hope it goes to show the problems and the reasons behind judgement, and a little hope in how I’m trying to work with it and not fight it.
I have a lot to look at, so I intend to deal with guilt, betrayal, trust, punishment and loneliness. Who knows, when I get to the end of it I might find the answer or at least understand it a little better.
Just a heads up, this is a expedition that I want to do but need to do a lot of planning. From what I have learnt from various forums is that its a tough trip and unlikely that a single battery will complete it. Hmmm, challenge accepted!
Taking my fitness into consideration, I suffer from FLOB (fat lad on bike), available daylight, support crew, in case I fall off and the fact its a long way wit...
This is a song for Carol performed by Katie Gittins, a very talented singer/song writer. The song was written to embrace the things Carol enjoyed, namely, the mountain scenery, fresh air and being immersed in the sheer beauty of nature with her family.
The song will be our theme to accompany us on our charitable endeavours. We will carry on her journey of discovery doing the same things that Car...