“Listen. People start to heal the moment they feel heard.” ~ Cheryl Richardson
Someone recently told me that after her husband died, she felt the hardest thing for her was that she was still here, alive and well. She felt guilty about the things she had or hadn’t done for her husband. She felt exhausted, drained, and numb. She felt like she had landed on another planet. She couldn’t concentrate on things, and longed for a good night’s sleep. More than anything, she was tired of trying to hide her feelings, always putting on a “I’m fine” face for others. Finally, with tears in her eyes she asked me, “Am I doing this right?”
By the time we are adults we have all experienced loss of various kinds. You’ve probably felt those painful feelings, and with each loss, your grief may have felt different. That’s because all relationships are unique, your grief is unique, and, you are unique.
Grief is the normal and natural reaction to loss of someone or something important to you. What we are often taught about grief (if anything) is actually not normal and natural, and most of it is misinformation, which is not helpful at all.
Grief is numbing and painful. It can leave us feeling empty. And, for some people, it all feels very surreal. Often, it can be easier to push those painful feelings down inside of us and ignore them, avoid them, and hope they will all go away. You may wear that false mask that lies and misinforms others as to how strong you are, and how well you are doing. You smile to show that your moving along nicely, getting on with life and getting over it all. However, you don’t get over it. Instead, you should try to move through it. When a painful emotion arises, it’s our instinct to resist it, but this actually is counter intuitive. Instead, the more you embrace those painful emotions and lean into them, the easier they are to overcome.
It’s important to experience all of the thoughts and emotions that come up for you, as painful as they may be, and to treat yourself with patience and kindness.
Grief is exhausting. Therefore, it’s important to maintain a balanced diet and rest as much as you can. Not forgetting that exercise is also important, as it helps to keep up your energy, clear your mind, and refresh your body. So, find a routine that you enjoy. Please, indulge yourself, take naps, relaxing baths, read a good book, cook some favorite foods. Do things that you find comforting.
Here are a few things to remember:
It’s OK to feel sad.
It’s Ok not to want to do anything with friends and family.
It’s Ok if you need a little time alone.
It’s Ok to move at your own pace.
It’s OK to feel the way YOU feel.
It’s OK that you can’t concentrate.
It’s OK to be slightly different from the way you “normally” are.
It’s Ok if you don’t feel like doing the things you used to love to do.
Know, that you will pick things up again when you are ready.
Grief can feel like a roller coaster, as there are constant ups and downs as you try to come to terms with your loss. When we experience loss, it affects everyone differently and can vary greatly in intensity. Some people feel the need to express their grief openly. Others may be reluctant to talk about it. This doesn’t mean they’re not grieving. They’re just expressing there grief differently. Even within the same family, people’s expression of grief can vary and it’s important to be respectful of each individual’s unique way of processing their loss.
Conclusion: There is NO right or wrong way to grieve, and grief emotions aren’t good or bad. They just are.
Please remember that the grief you’re experiencing is yours. That grieving people do not need to be ‘fixed.’ They do however need to be heard. Grief can be an incredibly isolating experience, even when your surrounded by family, friends, and other people. When you feel ready, speak with a Grief Recovery Specialist and know that you don’t have to do it alone.
Reach out if you need some support navigating through your grief.
Much Love Diane xx
There are three needs of the griever: To find the words for the loss, to say the words aloud and to know that the words have been heard.” ~ Victoria Alexander