The initial loss takes to you places that you never ever imagined in your lifetime. You may have considered what it would be like to lose a parent, a partner or a child, and without a doubt the feelings that arose overwhelmed you.
When we lose someone we love, we feel helpless, lost and afraid. Our whole world changes and nothing ever feels the same. It can never be the same again. We are trying to figure it all out. We look for ways to adapt and adjust our life to these new circumstances, but most of us fail miserably. We long for our loved one to come back to Earth. We desperately want our life to go back to the way it was before our loved one died. Then reality punches us in the gut once again and we are reminded that they are gone forever. This reality confuses us, especially when we look at a photo, or recall a memory or even when we pick up the phone and dial their number. We either listen to a voice message or a disconnected tone. The reality hits us even harder.
Each one of us has our own grieving journey. It may look normal to some, but very abnormal to another. For some, their grief is expressed very openly whilst for others it is hidden inside them.
Those that openly express their grief will be misunderstood a lot of the time. They want their voice to be acknowledged, their sadness to be heard and their feelings to be validated, but most often this doesn’t happen. Those around them don’t know how to cope with their grief, so they either avoid them completely or just avoid the topic all together. The person is forced to hold onto their pain and suffer alone in silence. They feel a deep sense of sadness and loneliness as the grief intensifies, they revert to their inner world and are reminded of the loneliness of grief. They are swallowed up by sorrow, held captive in the isolation and long for human connection.
Then there are those that feel their grief very intensely, yet they fill their lives with activities and events to avoid the grief. They want to be strong for those around them. They want to show people that they have an inner strength that can withhold any storm that comes their way. Often people will use what I refer to as: spiritual bypass. This is when they use spiritual practices and beliefs that help them to avoid their pain. They might say something like “God, was ready for my wife, and I trust that God took her at the right time”. People use positive affirmations, thinking and actions to avoid the grief and loss. They may make comments such as “my spirit guide will take care of me during the grief process and I am strong” or “my loved one wouldn’t want me to be sad, so I must honour their wish by remaining happy and strong”. These are all ways of avoiding grief.
I am not suggesting that one of the above is right and the other is wrong, but what I am suggesting is that we all do it differently and we shouldn’t judge another for how they grieve.
When you grieve, you may find that you swing from one reality to another. In one moment you may be laughing, having fun and feeling content and in the next you are knocked off the edge of the cliff and into the pool of grief, where you are drowning in sorrow. This is so common, yet people struggle to comprehend the complexity of this reality. It’s confusing for most of us. You may feel abnormal and start to question whether you are crazy or not. You can become sensitive, emotional and withdrawn and swing between all of these emotional states all at once. Nothing makes sense anymore…..this is grief.
5 Simple Steps to Manage Grief
- Spend more time in nature: Being in nature is a beautiful way to reconnect to Mother Earth and to help ground you.
- Eat a healthy well balance diet: Food is medicine, so eating lots of wholefood like fruit and veggies will help take care of the emotional and physical damage that takes place while grieving.
- Exercise: Something as simple as going for a walk can give you a moment of normality and give you some time to think more clearly, as you breathe the fresh air into your lungs.
- Rest: When your body is tired, listen to it. It needs time to rest and rejuvenate. Take a nap for 30 minutes or longer, just to regain your strength.
- Relaxation: can give your body a break from the impact of emotional distress.