Grief doesn’t need it be fixed, it just needs to be honored- David Kessler,
Co-author of the book- You Can Heal Your Heart
In March 2020, we were hit with an unfathomable condition called covid 19
Life as we knew had changed forever for us. Some lost their way of life and connections into the society, with social distancing, some lost their businesses and jobs to the locked down and many lost their loved ones to this Pandemic.
Many of us are constantly complaining of this haunting feeling of discomfort. This discomfort could possibly be around grief and loss. While we may or may not have felt this for ourselves we are totally capable of feeling this loss for the world around us.
Grief -The baffling feeling
Grief comes in many ways- our old ways of being, losing a job, a business, ending of a relationship, losing a pet and the most devastating of all is the loss of a loved one.
When My dad passed away, I was just fifteen. There was so much left unsaid, unheard and unanswered.
I felt so incomplete and lost as a young person. While I tried my best for the majority to my life not to feel my feelings. I was caught off guard on the MRI table years later only to realise that this is how my feelings decided to show up.
For almost two decades I hid my grief from everyone as a shameful and a painful experience.
I was completely reluctant to talk about it. Even now, decades later blogging about it is not as easy as I thought.
Yet, It takes courage to enter this zone. I wish to bring you some insights about grief and be your non-judgemental companion in it. As I went through my own loss it taught me some very interesting lessons about life, love and relationships.
Are you ready? So let’s begin talking about grief one gentle step at a time.
David Kessler the grief expert, who also worked closely with Elizabeth Kubler Ross, the famous author of the five stages of grief describes it as an organic process. It is a reflection of connection that has been lost. Yes, it is a painful process and the only way out of this pain is through it.
Grief is a very primordial feeling. Our ancestor knew how to grieve in fact they created rituals around it. In our modern, urban societies we are in a hurry to get over it or worse even, move on as quickly as possible.
Well, I have news for you; we never really recover from our grief. Our loved ones, our relationships even our jobs are not some kind of dis-ease that we recover from it. When our loved ones pass away, a part of us dies with them. However, also a part of them lives with us.
A part of us also ends with the end of that relationship. It is almost impossible not to be emotionally attached to a workplace and its people where we spend the majority of our days and time. Now that you are in this life with the void created by its or their absence, honouring your grief becomes most important.
The goal here is to remember the loss with more love than pain and live fully in the face of the loss.
Ways to navigate through grief
There are stages in which grief can be realised and healed: Firstly, understanding and witnessing the grief. Just like everything else in life, a complex feeling like grief needs to be observed and acknowledged. Actively feel your feelings it will move you towards your healing.
Next and most important, becoming aware of your mind and the inner chatter. It will bring back things to you that you had never expected. And if you are not prepared, it can throw you into a whirlpool of uncomfortable emotions. At this stage most people turn into addictions in order to numb their uncomfortable feelings. And yet here is a thing about feeling-what you resist persists. During this phase seek support.
Calling up a friend who advises you to move on may not be a great idea. Remember, it is not their journey. It is yours to tend and care for. You can consider therapy, coaching or counselling. Talking to a professional in a non-judgemental confidential space can bring about healing at deeper levels. When we are grieving it puts us in a very vulnerable position. Acknowledging this position is again very vital for the healing process.
Furthermore, honouring the effect of loss-If we don’t feel the sadness we can never really feel the happiness. Life is not monochromatic like black and white. It is also vibgyour-ish. After the grey cloud cover, the sun always shines with a rainbow smiling upon us.
At this point, establishing a continued connection with your loss and learning to live in its (their) absence could lead to an additional understanding and finding meaning in the face of loss.
Self-care practices for grief
Change your thoughts about the loss: While at that moment or even months or years later, it may seem like the end of the world but in reality it is not! Consult a therapist, seek professional support if these thoughts occur often.
Our thinking shapes our experience of the loss our thoughts add to the suffering. And as my loving teacher Louise hay will say: It’s only a thought and a thought can be changed. No matter how deep you have drowned in the ocean of your self-sabotaging, destructive and damaging thoughts the way out is just a thought away! Replace it with a self-serving, nurturing, constructive thought.
Be gentle with yourself: The idea of birth or death is not accidental. We are interwoven in the tapestry of life. While at that time it may seem unjust or unfair yet, people grow out of relationships, priorities change so does businesses. One day, those who were born will leave. No matter how hard our mind reasons it with us. Propel beyond the blame, the guilt, the criticism of self and others and the most common emotion following the grief is anger. Again, be a kind observer than a strict, judgemental authority. If we are gentle with our grief it will be gentle with us.
Find a support system and support yourself: Actively seek like-minded, go to people. Take care of your own health while at that moment it may feel counter intuitive. Still, learn about nutrition and eat well. It is very easy to fall for food addictions especially sugar. Yet, a balanced diet will help you release dopamine- the reward chemical. Exercise, It will help in releasing the endorphins which can act as a natural pain killer and you don’t have to numb yourself with alcohol, caffeine or actual pain killing pills. And while you are at it, try and have some fun. If you like cycling, running or swimming don’t enrol for a gym where you know you will never end up. Also, these activities will help you stabilize your mood rather choosing something counterproductive.
Remember, We are all together in this and the night always seem the darkest before the dawn breaks. I wish you a wonderful healing journey. Sending you much love and peace.