I normally steer clear of sharing too much of my personal life online but today I feel compelled and perhaps it is just the only thing one can do when they are facing the grief of losing a loved one. This post is to honor my ancestors who have passed and to remind us all that this life is short and is meant to be lived in love and gratitude. The catalyst for this post is the passing of a wonderful woman, my aunt, Rest In Peace Aunt Kathy-thank you for your love, even from afar.
We all know that death is a part of this life and at some point we will each most likely experience the devastation that comes with the loss of a loved one no matter how unexpected, expected or planned for. Today my family grieves the loss of yet another of our matriarchs, another rock that holds our walls in place. It is so strange and amazing what times like this do to our lives: we begin to remember that this life is not forever, how important our friends and family really are, the things we have and have not said, the places that we have given forgiveness and the others that we have not, our priorities shift suddenly and every moment seems more drawn out.
I remember the first time I experienced this phenomenon, though I had known death long before this incident, it was in high school that I first understood it’s impact. An acquaintance of mine, but close friend of my close friends committed suicide and although I did not know her well I was impacted by the way the world felt different with her absence. I recall thinking to myself how the grass, air, sun, morning dew and just everything seemed different somehow. The revelation that the world keeps moving despite this great loss was almost too much for my young brain to comprehend. I have since lost many incredible people in my life and every time I am in awe of learning the same lessons again. Each time I do my best to remind myself to continue to give each moment that same weight but somehow that knowing slowly fades. I see now that this is one of life’s big challenges: to learn how to be truly present in each moment.
“Realize deeply that the present moment is all you have”-Eckhart Tolle
I want to take this opportunity to publicly thank my ancestors that have passed, in particular my Dad, Grandmother, Grandfather, Uncle and Aunt for giving me so much: My eyes, my smile, my laugh, my ability to recognize the importance of family, the great joy of being silly and taking things in stride, my ability to adapt, my sincerity, my generosity, my love of the outdoors, my strength, my vulnerability, my spirit, my love of life, my adventurousness and so much more. I absolutely would not be who I am today without each of your contributions to my life. Thank you also for your influence on all those that are still enjoying this lifetime-my family, cousins, mom, siblings, niece and nephews. To all of you: no matter how often we see each other your presence on this planet makes my universe more rich. I hold a sacred space for you right now as we see this lovely lady off to join the ranks of greatness that await her.
I share this because I know many of you can relate, in my personal list of clients alone there are many whom have shared with me their sadness of loss whether it be recent or long ago. This type of weary grief sticks to you, often finding a place in your body, mind and spirit to lay it’s heavy head. By loving ourselves and sharing our experiences we make space for healing and though we may always carry some of the pain of missing our loved ones we must do what we know would make them happiest-Live without limits and celebrate the goodness of their lives.
Here are some tips and resources for you if you are experiencing the massive grief of losing someone you love:
Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams-A book that I have read many times and never fails to make me laugh and cry, it deals with the issues of death and dying entwined with a beautiful story of the author’s life.
Hospice on bereavement-My dad was in hospice before he passed and I found their literature to be very comforting. It helped me to recognize the stages of my own grief as well as my families.
Some of my personal takes on the bereavement experience: remember that you probably won’t be yourself for a while and that there are many stages of grief that can last for quite some time. Cut yourself some slack, rest, remember to eat, spend time alone but don’t isolate yourself from your support network. Don’t sabotage yourself-ask for/allow for help when you need it. Don’t make decisions too hastily, rely on someone that you trust who is less affected by the death to help you with important matters.
Take care of yourself in whatever ways work for you. Stress and grief are hard on your mind and body which means you need to take extra good care of yourself during this time. Eating healthy, drinking water, exercising and doing your best to get enough sleep are the first steps in keeping your energy up for what lies ahead. Body work such as massage, acupuncture, energy work etc… can be very healing during times of loss because they allow you a safe space to be quiet but not alone. Body work also helps with releasing endorphin’s, reducing the stress hormone cortisol, improving circulation and promoting restorative sleep.
People deal with death in many different ways and you have to find what works for you to make it through the process without self destructing, most importantly remember that it does get easier and you will find happiness again. Above all love up the people close to you and live a full and joyful life! Thank you for taking the time to read this post and feel free to share your tips for surviving the grief process as well as the stories of your loved ones who have passed with us. I send each of you my sincere love and gratitude and hope you know that whatever role you play at WOTB is significant and wonderful. Have a beautiful sunny day!