Dear Dr. Leary:
The current newsletter states “relationships are the building blocks of the evolution of our spirit”. That is an unhappy and daunting thought for me. Although I am not elderly, dozens of relationships have ended for me in a few short years due to death, dementia, and other life events.
Yes, I am grateful to have had the relationships, but it is very difficult to establish new ones in todays’ world where people/family are busy, busy, busy, and already entrenched in existing relationships. Perhaps my spirit has evolved as much as it’s going to in this lifetime, or will continue to evolve from the building blocks formerly in place. In any event, it was a somewhat unsettling quote.
My perspective is just one “way of seeing”, as the above quote is just one “path” of how we might grow into our best Self. It is not the only way.
Yes, the pace of the world today, the inevitable death of loved ones and friends, the limitations of illness and age, and the mobility of our society challenges our opportunity to connect with others. It is difficult and often discouraging when we want to be in relationship with others. That does not mean that we cannot have meaningful relationships.
Relationships, may indeed, be an opportunity for us to stretch, challenge, grow and evolve. How do relationships help us to evolve? A relationship provides a means to contribute and be of service; to share love; to mirror our best Self or to remind us where we need to grow. If this is true, then there is much that we can relate with and to: we can have a deeper and more authentic relationship with whatever we consider to be a Higher Power. We can have a relationship with our self, whom we may have overlooked and diminished in favor of pleasing others or living by others’ expectations. We can have a relationship with nature and the world, a connection of gratitude that we may have taken for granted before. We can have a relationship with animals that reflects and teaches us what unconditional love can provide. And we can continue a relationship with loved ones who have died, moved, or changed through our thoughts and intentions. Or, as you suggested, you can continue a relationship through the building blocks already in place, the legacy of lessons learned that they left with us.
LifeNet Health has several programs that can offer donor family members ways to begin new and meaningful relationships:
The Grief Companion Program pairs donor family members who would like to speak with someone who has suffered a similar loss as they have. To mitigate the challenges from distance, opportunity, and illness, these relationships often occur through telephone and email contact, and many have blossomed into close face-to-face friendships.
The Facebook Group or Email support group serves in those times when folks may want to bounce a situation off others by posting through the private Facebook group or the LNH email support group (if they don’t want to bother enrolling in Facebook). Conversations may include: how to observe various anniversaries such as weddings, birthdays, death dates, etc.; what to do with the spouse’s wedding ring; or how to celebrate holidays without the loved one.
LifeNet Health’s Annual Remembrance Ceremonies, Gatherings and workshops offer opportunities throughout the year for donor family members to connect with one another and potentially build relationships.
As you look back on your life, don’t you now understand all the ways you were evolving, if even in those moments you thought not much was happening?
Thank you for your question and for thoughtful response. Blessings,