The last thing on my mind, was how would I find my life after this loss. I didnt recognize that I was about to begin my own healing journey. Those thoughts were far from confused mind. In that moment it was more important for me to find out how I could cope. My healing journey and finding life after loss would be part 3 in this journey of mine into grief.
The day dad died, I couldnt quite understand how outside the hospital the day was filling up with its “normal” that of “getting on with life”. Right now, my life was anything but normal our life had stopped but everyone elses life continued.
Where was help when you needed it the most I thought. I realized no one was coming to save us. I had to be the protector now for mum. Up until this point it had been Dad’s job. Looking back, growing up both my parents had fiercely protected my sister and me to the point I really didn’t know how or what to do at this moment. Dad had always been there to ask.
Figuring it out
Clearly, we weren’t prepared for what we would have to go through and face as a family or alone with our grief. Somehow we muddled through. We had to for there was no mentor or guide, it was a “figure it” out as you go along routine.
To begin with, there was help via the funeral folks but after that, we were very much alone.
For me, it was a struggle, I was overwhelmed by life, emotions, and feelings. Alone, I would journey for a while until I did find help. I was fortunate, with my nursing background I understood death but for the rest, it was my holistic friends I turned to and relied on to ease my pain.
How Others Heal
Over time I wondered, how did others heal and journey through their grief? My quest began and would be answered only when I did my own research. Frankly, many people didn’t. During the search I read about people becoming stuck in their grief, pining and longing for their loved ones. They would lose their vitality and their own lives as a result. It was as if they too had died alongside their loved one. This was tragic.
There were many more people like me who do eventually find their way back to life. Their lives forever changed as they learned to adapt and grow in ways they couldn’t have expected. Some would go on to create legacies or help others during their time of grief.
In the next group, these people grieved but got on with their lives fairly quickly after death. Looking at their characteristics it was noted they were generally happy with their lives and their work fulfilled them. Yes, they had deeply loved the person they lost but somehow, they didn’t lose themselves in their grief.
Death is about Finding You
It was then I recognized as I was doing my own healing work that the death itself became less about his death and more about finding me.
During our lives, there are many times we will be faced with many challenges and how to deal with them either brings you to your knees or you find a way to get up. It is in the getting up that so many lessons are learned along the way that contributes to growth. Life is structured this way and as humans, we are meant to be growing. This growth then becomes one of the head and heart learning. We need both if we are to develop wisdom and compassion.
Just knowing so many grieving a loss can lose their way or are unable to move on with their lives. I wanted to let you know that you can heal your grief and go on to live an amazing life.
I understand first hand what it is like to lose a loved one. This has taught me the value of empathy and compassion. Over the years, I have developed tools designed to help and guide you. If you recognize yourself in any of the categories described above. Please let’s connect so I can share more about what I do.
Whenever we’re faced with challenges in our lives, it can be easy to give up. Its a choice, it’s your willingness to work through them and heal. It is then your greatest gifts and passions show up. You don’t have to hit the proverbial “rock bottom” before deciding this isn’t working. It can be one event that triggers the need for some other direction in life to be taken.
In this interview with Sarah Roberts we cover…
How Sarah’s need for connection, to fit in led to addiction. Her recovery through healthy food and entering grief when her dad, mentor, and supporter died. Sarah Roberts, a TV host, and producer speaks openly and from the heart, about subjects many find hard to talk about.
In this open and candid interview with Sarah, we delved into these topics:
How and why her passion, cooking and creating using real, whole foods began.
Her purpose is Sarah’s successful One Bite at a Time (OBAAT) coaching helping others find freedom from food, sugar, alcohol, and body image issues that have kept them stuck.
Shame helped her create her own healthy life-style and how speaking about her own shame gives others permission to own their own.
We are wired for the need to connect and what this need is creating in our children in our social media reality
Sarah’s own journey with grief when her dad died suddenly. How she and her brother have coped differently over his passing
Her thoughts on the statement readily used in Society “you never get over your grief”
Good self-care is necessary especially when you are struggling with your appetite. Some suggestions of what foods to include in your diet and why.
To listen to this episode in the Let’s Talk About Grief Podcast – you can from Apple Podcast download it here
How I Supported my best friend through her end of life transition – Jane Jackson Soul Coach and Energy Practioner (to read more about Deborah & Jane’s journey together here is the link)
When Faced with Difficulty
What do you do, when your best friend is diagnosed with MS and possibly has two years to live? This was what Jane was faced with and this interview is about their journey together. Jane did what you would expect of a good friend, she jumped in to support her in so many ways. Helping her with daily living, supporting, planning her funeral together and dealing alone with the rawness of it all.
This journey was an emotionally charged one, instead of closing down they remained open, vulnerable and available to each other. Jane never judged her friend or tried to talk her out of it when she heard she was choosing suicide to end her life. For Deborah, wanted to leave on her terms and not be defined by her illness as she progressively got weaker.
However, the is an interesting and heartwarming twist to their story. One that will have you questioning “Is the choice to die really ours to make” or is there something more powerful at work here.”
How was your Summer? I do hope you were able to get away for some downtime and recharge? It certainly was a hot one……..
A Friday Night to Remember
The last breath of Summer left us during the storm last Friday evening ushered out by 6 Tornado’s here in the Ottawa region. The result of the storm plunged many into chaos as the power went out in homes. across the region. This was a small inconvenience compared to the people whose homes were destroyed by the storm. The winds tore off rooftops, downed trees, and power lines, scattering debris over roads impeding travel and rescue efforts.
It would take several days for the extent of the damage to reach the public’s awareness. When it did, those watching were totally stunned and shocked by the devastation in many areas around our region. I’m certain there were a few hands over mouths as they took in the pictures they were seeing. Trees on top of cars, rooftops gone leaving their contents visible and exposed. Large trees on top of family dwellings. Large power poles snapped in half downing the wires they were carrying. One main power station feeding so many homes in the area was just another casualty of the tornado.
I couldn’t help thinking of how this external event could be linked to grief. A death happens and throws everything into chaos. The once familiar becomes unfamiliar and how we mourn for what was. A similar picture was unfolding. Many were looking forward to TGIF, cooking super and relaxing at the end of the workweek, except for many there was no power and for others, there was no longer a home.
How quickly we can take people and places for granted. In a blink of an eye, it can be taken from us and we are truly powerless.
The Clean-Up Begins
It is not just the homes that will need rebuilding or tearing down but the clearing of so many damaged trees. The landscape is forever changed. Everyday living last week meant restocking of fridges, and freezers after throwing out wasted food. The rebuilding of their lives begins. How did people cope knowing they would soon have to return to work? How could you possibly be productive when your life is in chaos?
When a death occurs, you remain busy, stoic powering through the endless tasks and then when it is over you discover you’re not coping well, you are in mourning. This is what those individuals affected by such loss will be experiencing. The effects are not always apparent in the early days, however, once the shock and busyness wear off many will require close monitoring. For signs of PTSD, severe stress and mourning. This is when they will need support. After the army of volunteers have left leaving them to cope on their own.
Reach out and Support
Just as first responders were there helping, grief counselors were also present. Advising those affected to speak about what happened and to ensure they take care of themselves. Good advice, however, when you are extremely stressed as they will be, it is hard to settle down. Sleep when you are extremely stressed is normally the first to be disrupted and is so needed. They may be unable to relax and feel agitated. Making decisions may even prove a challenge.
If you know someone affected by the events of last week, please take time and invite them for coffee with you. Take time to allow them to share their story with you. No need to fix, just listen and acknowledge what they say. This simple act can be healing. Please don’t talk about your experience or share stories of someone you know. This is not helpful. Just listen. If you don’t know what to say “say that”. The important step is to allow them to talk and share.
I do hope you and your family were all safe and your power was restored quickly?
Take Time to Prepare
Truly how prepared are we for life’s challenges?
It takes something like mother nature to show us just how unprepared we may be. Especially for those big events such as a death or loss that challenge us and stop us in our tracks. Much like the storm did.
This made me reflect on my mission to help others to not fear death and the grieving process that follows on its heels. As a grief guide and coach, I am here to support and can help you understand the process so you will be prepared and know what to do.
Just as many people, I’m certain will be preparing to ensure they have certain supplies in place. Perhaps including a generator, definitely stocking up on candles or flashlights. A battery radio was recommended so you could be updated for the next time the lights go out!
If grief follows the natural sequence of life wouldn’t it stand to reason that there is a beginning, a middle and an ending or does it spiral continuously throughout one’s life?
This is a great question and one that will be different in each case. For some, they never get over grief but rather learn to live with it. This is sad because they are not living their lives to its fullest and rather just making do.
Then there are those who believe it will end when it ends. Research has shown that if you allow yourself to grieve and be with it – then the heavy grieving where you are consumed by tears on a daily basis does begin to subside after about 3 months.
A Family’s Grieving
Let’s look at the question from the point of view of a young child whose has lost her father to death. Depending on the family dynamics the grief can become prolonged as it goes underground and presents itself later in life at different moments in time. This was the case for the person who first asked me this question?
I didn’t get the opportunity to delve deeper so what I’m writing now is pure speculation. Often it will be hard for a widow with children to find time to grieve. She now has more responsibilities and has to take care of everything including the family. Her grief can be put on hold.
Perhaps she isn’t comfortable grieving in front of the children so will stop herself if they are around. They may even hear her crying in her bedroom and wonder why? Children are amazing and will pick up on this and believe they did something wrong so it’s their fault.
When a child believes this, it can create conflict within them. They don’t know how to deal with these feelings. To help themselves cope they may develop bad behavior or rebelliousness to help them feel better. There is the other extreme where they withdraw and try extra hard to always do the right thing. They become good girls or boys.
Growing Up Without Dad
Regardless of how the loss was dealt with or how well they moved on with their lives, their grief may resurface at different times and for different reasons. It is often the milestones in life that tug at our hearts. Such as, when a young woman marries and is inconsolable at the thought that her dad won’t be by her side. Or when her children are born, and she realizes her dad will never know them. These situations can cause her to feel her loss acutely once again.
A young boy may feel resentful of his friends when he sees them with their dad. Or when his friends are playing sports or going on trips. It can be at these moments he feels the emotions but doesn’t know how to handle it. Crying isn’t an option, especially for boys. Those painful feelings may arise again when he buys his first car or when he buys his first house and it needs fixing. He can feel the loss of his dad all over again.
So, to answer the question, does grief ever end? It does end after the first event “the death” itself. The other losses are the firsts & seconds that I warn my clients about when they face these transitions through their life. Being aware of them doesn’t stop us from feeling these losses but what it does do is prepare us so that they don’t overwhelm us and we can plan for them.
Life is a series of losses and with each loss comes an opportunity for growth and learning.
This is how as humans, we evolve into expanded versions of ourselves. If it weren’t for loss when would growth and new learning occur?
Grief then is the alchemy turning our lead into gold and is as much a part of life as birth.
We must welcome in our grief as much as we welcome in our joy. Grief and Joy walk hand in hand just as surely as grief has a beginning, a middle and end like all emotions if they are given space.
If you’re still wondering if your grief will ever end, I have a solution and I’d love to chat with you more about it. Please email me at [email protected] and we will set up a time.
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