Horrible Misfortune

by Mark Ivar Myhre on November 14, 2010

How Can You Make Sense Of Horrible Misfortune?

Two people just wrote me, asking about the situation of how do you go on when your loved ones have violently died.  How do you make sense of that?

Well, I would say first of all, yes, losing family members – a spouse or children or both – to senseless violence is a tough one.  It’s probably the worse thing that can happen to a person.

I knew a woman who was riding in a car carrying her baby, with her husband driving.  The car wrecked.  She was unhurt, but both her husband and her baby died.

My best friend was murdered because of something I’d given him.

Another woman I’ve known for decades suffered through the tragedy of having her daughter die a week after she graduated high school.

And finally, another couple I’ve also known for decades were having marital problems.  She moved out.  She called me and wanted me to come over and see her.  I thought I knew what she wanted, and I said no.  A few days later this woman blew her brains out with a gun.

I could go on, but you get the point.  Tragedy happens.

What do you say to the survivors?

“There, there, it will be okay.”


It’s NOT okay.  And it never will be.  We’re talking about horrible tragedies that didn’t have to happen.  There’s NOTHING that’s okay about those situations.

And yet they happen.  So what do you do?

Well, as a bystander, all you can do is be there for the survivors.  A shoulder to lean on, so to speak.  You don’t say anything.  You just listen.

When you’re in this type of pain, it’s not the time to try to figure it out. Instead, it’s time to deal with what you’re feeling.  Period.  Figure it out later, after you’ve gone through your grief.  (If you even want to try, that is.)

You see, when a tragedy happens, it produces a certain volume of grief.

Let’s say it produces 100 ‘units’ of grief.  Or 85 units.  Or 500 units.

A certain VOLUME of grief is inside the survivor.
And it varies with each person, as to how much grief they have inside themselves.   I may have 50 ‘units’ while you may have 200.  Or you could have 100, and I could have 200.  It depends on many variables.

The point is, there’s a certain amount of grief – a certain volume – that has to come OUT and be EXPRESSED – and RELEASED.

If you want to heal.

The 100 units of grief could dribble out slowly for the rest of your life, or they could come out in waves, or they could come out in a torrent over a shorter period of time.  It all depends on the person and how they choose to do it.

If you go into the pain and just feel it as cleanly and as quickly as possible, then you can recover.  You can forgive yourself and move on with your life.

In my case, there’s another situation I didn’t mention above that was much more poignant and hit closer to home.  Someone I loved as much as I love myself died because of my stupidity and negligence.

And I can never make it right.  I can never rectify the situation.  I cried almost every single day for many years.  And frankly, I prolonged the agony.

I just couldn’t let go of the story of how stupid I was.

I took the 100 units of grief and mixed them with my little story and turned them into 1000 units.  In other words, I made it ten times worse than it had to be.

I didn’t want to let go of the story of how bad and wrong I was.  I wanted to keep punishing myself.  What I did was unforgivable.  (Until I finally decided to forgive myself.)

Nobody could possibly have said to me, “There, there, Mark, it’s okay.  You made a mistake.  Now it’s time to forgive yourself and move on.”

Well, they could have said it, but I would not have heard it.  I had too much invested in my pain.  I had to punish myself.

My attempts to ‘figure it out’ made things much worse, and the pain lasted much longer.

Anyway, when I’m around someone now who’s going through a tragedy, I don’t say anything.  I just listen and be there.

Eventually, if they want to have a dialogue about it, here’s what I would say:

We’re in this life for such a short time.  The older you get, the more you realize it.  This lifetime is just a blink of an eye.

And everybody dies.  Sometimes it doesn’t make sense.  It seems so wrong.  And yet, it happens.

Almost every single person I’ve known who’s died, I’ve talked with them after they passed over.  Both friends and relatives.  Only a few I haven’t heard from.

I’ve mentioned before about my own mother.  I never cared much for her when she was alive, but now we’re very good friends since she’s passed over to the other side.  In fact, she’s helped me enormously.  Now, I love her very dearly.  And we’ll be reunited someday.

Anyway, all these people (now spirits) are quite happy and loving and forgiving. They are now living from that higher perspective – the perspective  I wish I had now, but that I don’t want to die to experience!

The only sorrow I’ve heard from any of them is only because they feel bad for those left behind who are in pain.  NONE of them are in pain, from what I can determine.

They’re home.  They’re loved.  They’re IN love.  Their pain is over.

Now, they still keep their same personality.  They still joke around. (If they joked on earth.)  They still care.  But the pain seems to be gone.  They’re not crying like I am down here on earth.

I have lots of good friends on the other side.  One time we actually got together in what may be described as a ‘party’.  And there was SO MUCH LOVE.  And so much wisdom, and understanding.

Does this mean I want to leave my body and join them?


I want to live a long life here.  I choose to live a long time.  But if I’m actually going to do that, I need to accept that tragedy happens.  Sometimes bad things happen to good people.

It can be an ugly world. Some things will never make sense while I’m on this earth.

I’ll understand when I go home, but while I’m here, all I can do is tell myself stories that may or may not be true.

This earth is not my home.  I’m only here for a short time.  I’m just trying to make the best of the situation.

So what do I say to my fellow survivors down here?

Probably not much.  Just try to be a shoulder.  And the best way to do that is to heal myself.


Helen November 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Hi Mark – your articles truly touch my soul. The article titled ‘Horrible Misfortune’ put a smile on my face! I too have been reunited and had many conversations with those I love dearly now in spirit. It has been principally their love and presence that has enabled me to heal and forgive myself. My smile was with regard to your story about your mother. To identify, my mother-in-law, with whom I had a very difficult relationship on this earth plane and for whom I did not care for very much (the feeling was mutual) visits me, rests her cheek lovingly against my cheek, and gives me loving guidance. I love her dearly and I know she knows I do. I know she loves me dearly. This is not the sort of revelation one makes to just anyone – but by the grace of God, Union is Power.
Thank you
God bless you

Mark Ivar Myhre November 15, 2010 at 9:14 pm

Hi Helen,

and thanks for sharing.

Amazing what can happen!

Jagruti November 15, 2010 at 11:14 pm

Dear Mark ,
Thank you for this beautiful healing. Part truth is bitter, complete truth is loving. That has been my indicator in the process of growing. Your article oozes love So thank you.

Ally November 16, 2010 at 8:47 pm


Well, now is the time to finally reply to your inspiring emails.
You have been a mountain of guidance and a source of inner strength for me.
Your book on Emotional Healing kickstarted me off into the scary unknown to which I must ‘THANK’ you…
Sharing pain, loss, grief, confusion, frustration, anger, hurt etc… The list goes on and on, does wonders in opening up the core of problems that plainly refuse to come out into the open and be acknowledged for what they are ‘Life lessons’ need to be experienced- to be learned, appreciated, felt and valued for what they truly are – LIFE LESSONS!
We NEED to learn so much about ourselves in this lifetime instead of paying attention or judging others.
Life is truly beautiful – if we can make it that way!
We ARE the makers of our own destiny, some of us just NEED a little reminding and some loving help and guidance every now and then!

All the best for YOU and YOURS, Mark.

Once again – Thank You!

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