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~ On Transformation ~

When we are no longer able to change a situation …
we are challenged to change ourselves.
Victor Frankl
Transformation: [1]
1. a. The act or an instance of transforming.
    b. The state of being transformed.
2. A marked change, as in appearance or character, usually for the better.
Transformation and Journey of Hearts
Journey of Hearts™ provides a variety of resources and grief AIDEs for those on their personal journey of grief following a loss or a significant life change. Grief AIDEs help people understand and work through the grief process following a loss, how to survive present and past losses and how to cope when old losses become felt anew, or new losses occur.

It is important for those experiencing the loss and those supporting them to recognize that life is very different following a loss and the grieving person is forever transformed by the loss. At Journey of Hearts™ visitors can be educated about the "normal" grief response, including what to anticipate in the transformational process that occurs following a loss. In addition, the grieving person is encouraged to find healthy ways of coping with the loss and to draw upon or discover their own internal source of strength to get through the shock and the grief reaction.

Somewhere in time the truth shines through
And the spirit knows what it has to do
Somewhere in you there's a power with no name
It can rise to meet the moment and burn like a flame
And you can be stronger than anything you know
Hold on to what you see
Don't let it go 

Performed by Steve Winwood
Lyrics byJames Horner, Cynthia Weil,
& Barry Mann. From the movie "Balto"

Transformation, Loss & Grief
The Journey of Grief following a loss, a crisis or a significant life change is a very personal and often a very private one. Each person experiences his or her own unique journey. People respond to loss differently - some may choose to ignore it, others to suppress it, some will become depressed by it, and still others may become outraged by it. Many may want to talk about their experiences or remembrances of loved ones over and over again to help the reality of the situation finally sink in and the loss be come realized. For the grieving person, it can be a daily challenge just to survive to wake up every morning knowing that he/she must face the pain of the grief, yet they must learn to accept the pain and realize that in time they will discover a new strength. Out of the pain may come richer and more rewarding life.

Look upon each day that comes as a challenge, as a test of courage. The pain will come in waves, some days worse that others, for no apparent reason. Accept the pain, Do not suppress it. Never attempt to hide grief from yourself. Little by little, just as the dear, the blind, the handicapped develop with time an extra sense to balance disability, so the bereaved, the widowed, will find new strength, new vision, born of the very pain and loneliness which seem, at first, impossible to master.
Daphne Du Maurer

With many losses, the pain never entirely departs, rather it becomes a part of the bereaved, tucked away in a corner somewhere in the deep recesses of the heart. There it remains at a constant low level ache, which with time may be over ridden. At other times without warning, a site, a smell, a location, a song, an anniversary or birthday will trigger the old memories and the intensity of the grief and loss will return again. These feelings can be just as painful and may make one feel as though he/she was experiencing the loss anew.

In the grieving process, the bereaved person must learn how to deal with the loss, crisis or significant change. This requires learning how to cope with what may be a vast array of intense and at times conflicting emotions. It also may require accepting the inability to change a situation, facing the challenge of changing him or herself and choosing the attitude to take towards the events that have occurred.

Everything precious including our dignity can be taken from us,
but the one thing that cannot be taken away is our power to choose
what attitude we will take toward the events that have happened.
Victor Frankl

With time as the grieving person begin to heal from the loss, the intense initial emotions lessen
to a level that allows him/her to function. The grief is no longer a daily all-consuming emotion. (If it remains so, then this is the time to seek professional help) The bereaved learn how to cope with the loss, the same way that someone learns to adapt to the loss of their hearing, the loss of an arm or the loss of mobility. Despite the loss, life goes on, it moves forward and begins anew, but it is a life forever changed. The bereaved person has been transformed by the loss—like a caterpillar spinning a cocoon to hibernate during dark times before emerging as a butterfly, a different person in the spring.

Grieving people must recognize that they may never "get over" their grief. Some losses never entirely fade e.g. loss of child, loss of spouse, diagnosis with a terminal illness. Rather in time they learn how to integrate the loss or change into their lives and keep living. The grieving process usually ends when people realize that they will survive and begin to focus their energy on living. Choosing the environment in which the loss is processed and trying to maintain a positive, uplifting outlook can aid the bereaved in getting through the grieving process and finding wings to Soar™ again.

We become like our environment, and our environment becomes like us.
Everything around us molds us and shapes us.
So it is important to choose our environment with care: one that is positive,
one that lifts us up and gives us wings to soar.

Activism out of Adversity

Adversity often activates a strength we did not know we had.

Joan Walsh Anglund

Loss and crisis can be a meaningful instrument for change, activating a strength many do not know they possess. First to get a person through the event and then to keep him/her going. Coping with the loss may require the bereaved to accept their inability to change a situation, face the challenge of changing themselves, choose the attitude they will take and the "color" in which they will view events that have occurred.

In tragic situations and those where the death may be viewed as preventable, many people find that investing their energies to create change or form advocacy organizations can be a positive way of channeling the intense energy experienced in grief. There are numerous examples of various organizations, ideas and causes that had their origins as a response to a tragedy, a personal loss, or a death. Several of the most notable include: Parents of Murdered Children, MADD, the Polly Klaas Foundation for Missing and abducted Children, the Million Mom March, America’s Most Wanted, the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, Gilda’s Club (For those living with Cancer), Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, the Montel Williams MS Foundation (Multiple Sclerosis)and numerous charitable organizations that have come into existence following the September 11, 2001 tragedy.Oprah’s Angel Network and Journey of Hearts™ both originated, in part to the tragic death of Princess Diana.

Resources on Transformation

1.  The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition. Houghton Mifflin Company, 2000. Available at:

Circumstances and situations do color life.
But you have been given the mind to choose
what the color shall be.
John Homer Miller

See the Emergency 911 Page for links to immediate resources
if you are feeling helpless, hopeless, overwhelmingly depressed, or suicidal.

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Last update Sept. 11, 2002