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My wife's best friends sister recently passes away

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  • My wife's best friends sister recently passes away


    My wife's best friends sister has recently passed away due to cancer. She is suffering through seeing her best friend suffer. I told her that the more she suffers the more her friend will suffer because she will think that she is causing my wife to suffer. I was wondering if I am doing the right thing by telling my wife that she should not allow her self to suffer the emotion of sadness and instead feel a sense of happiness that her friends sister is not suffering anymore. If you could give me some advice on how to handle this situation I would greatly appreciate it.

    With Peace and Love,

  • #2
    Dear James,

    It seems to me that your advice is sound. The best sort of friend one can have – the true kalyāṇamitta – is a person who is able to open new vistas for us. If we can show somebody that grief is not necessary when someone close to us dies, then we are opening up new avenues of perception for them. In your wife’s case, the reason she is suffering is because she is feeling some of her friend’s pain, that is, she has tuned in to the idea of suffering when a loved one dies. If instead she were able to point her friend towards a “non-grief perception”, for example that her friend’s sister was a good person and that good people go to good destinations after death, then she might be doing something more constructive. Such a perception opens up the possibility of rejoicing in a life well lived and in the probable present good circumstances of the deceased person. But it can be difficult to see such alternatives if we are too involved in the other person’s suffering.

    The problem with grief is that it is in essence a result of our default self-centeredness. We are grieving our loss. However, if we are aware of what is going on and we are taught how to look at the situation differently, much of the grief can vanish. Perhaps your wife can help her friend in this way.

    With metta.


    • #3
      dear ajahn
      do you have any non grief advice if the one that died was not a good person

      by this i mean a cat, a sweet friend to me but one that terrorized the neighborhood birds and rodents and caused a lot of suffering, which he had no idea was bad in fact he was really celebrating as he did these things

      i dont feel sorry for my loss so much but that the end was a painful one and it hurts to think of that suffering having happened and that instead of a comfy home he is going to be reborn in who knows what circumstance

      i feel the same at hearing about anyone meeting a bad end, i cant even look at the local news because of the cruelty that is reported. it is almost painful in a physical and i carry it for a long time. it does not help the one who has passed, but i cant stop myself


      • #4
        Dear Erin,

        Your cat may not have been good, but then it wasn't really bad either. Basically it didn't know what it was doing and its intentions will produce hardly any karmic results. It is quite likely that if your cat had the good karma to be reborn in your household in this life, it will be reborn in a similar household in its next life. Perhaps he will even make it back into your household. Watch out for that uncannily familiar kitten, arriving seemingly out of nowhere!

        With metta.



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