A conversation that took place between two American women describes this intimate relationship between physical and immaterial forms of dying. One of these women came to see me soon after her only child, a twenty-year-old son, died from an accidental drug overdose. We spoke of ways to help her live with this tragic loss. About two years later, this woman's best friend found herself struggling through a very painful divorce. The first woman explained to her friend: My son is never coming back. I entertain no fantasies about this. My relationship to myself and to how I relate to the world has changed forever. But the same is true for you. Your sense of who you are, of who is there for you and who you will travel through life with, has also changed forever. You too need to grieve a death. You are thinking that you have to come to terms with this intolerable situation outside of yourself. But just as I had to allow myself to die after my son's death, you must die to a marriage that you once had. We grieve for the passing of what we had, but also for ourselves, for our own deaths. The profound misfortune of the death of this woman's son opened her heart to an exploration of impermanence and death that went far beyond her own personal story.
— Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche