I’ve touched on grief using this blog before. I have mentioned grieving. I’ve talked about the grief over my mother that I tried to run from. I’ve talked about recent grief.
It’s really uncomfortable isn’t it?
I have learned that grief is in stages. It is said that these are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and, finally, acceptance. That is it apparently. Neatly wrapped up in a bow. You may visit each stage several times but eventually you will come to acceptance. That’s what they say.
I have been hunting down acceptance like a lion on a weak gazelle. I thought it was the way to do it. Accept it and move on like everyone else does, right?? But it never really works for me, hunting acceptance feels a lot like running from the grief. Or it does the way I do it.
I didn’t fully appreciate how much grief impacts other people, I really didn’t. I thought that I was an anomaly because I wasn’t doing the stages one at a time. I was, and am, dealing with all of the stages at once. I don’t just mean for my most recent loss of my cousin either. I am talking about every one I grieve for. Sometimes they share stages and sometimes they run in different stages in parallel.
Every time more grief gets added into my soul, it snowballs the rest and all of it feels new and fresh again. The process and the stages get reset in a lot of ways.
This brings me to yesterday. I had a few ‘moments’ yesterday, the ones where it’s like a gut punch of grief and you aren’t really sure what happened and where it came from. I asked on my social media “Do you ever get a ‘gut punch’ of grief? Like one minute you are fine and the next… not so much’” followed by me asking for strategy tips.
The amount of people who said they feel that gut punch too made me feel sad, but also I noticed that most of the people who said yes did not actually give me any tips. No judgement here! We all get busy and clicking ‘yes’ is different to typing a message… but, it did make me wonder if I am the not the only one that gets swallowed up by grief and doesn’t have much of a strategy other than “let’s stop feeling this asap!”
It’s okay if that is you, it is me too.
Here are some of the tips I’ve received (and that I have absorbed over the years) that I am pulling to my new strategy;
- Sit with it/ Breathe into it/ Be in the feeling
- The breath is so powerful – not only because it keeps us alive. Correct breath work can actually reduce pain and stress, can lower your blood pressure, can send you straight to sleep.
- Without focusing on the breath, feeling the pain of the moment can actually reduce the pain. Imagine trying to run from a broken ankle while you have one. Running from negative emotions also can increase the risk of further damage.
- Talk about it with someone who can handle the discomfort. Call your shoulder to cry on, that friend that you can just sit with and not have to have conversation if you don’t feel like it.
- Remember who you are grieving for, don’t push them from your mind. Allow yourself to remember them however is happening for you in that moment. It’s okay, it is painful but it’s just a pain we already know well.
- Hold a grounding object near – an object that reminds you of them or just an object that feels good in your grip. This will help us to not lose ourselves in the grief, it keeps our bodies where they need to be.
I personally feel like 5 is a good number for my own strategy but, since no grief is the same, I will not whine about you adding your own, changing mine or just scrapping it and starting from scratch with your own.
I would just like you to have your own comfort. You deserve it.
I read somewhere that ‘grief is love with nowhere to go’ and that resonated with me. It made me realise that these are loves that I will never let end so I will be walking with this feeling forever. Every milestone, every happy moment, every sad moment.
I feel the grief because I feel the absence of my loved one.
There is no taboo in that for me, no ‘moving on’, no finality in the acceptance.
I guess what I am saying is that the acceptance stage is strong for me. It’s also changed completely in my eyes.
Yes, acceptance is still the stage I consistently want to be at but that is no longer so that I can escape the grief.
If grief is love then I am accepting my life long ‘sentence’ with it, I don’t want to stop loving my lost ones. I don’t want to stop tearing up while laughing at a joke they would love, I don’t want to not wonder what they would think of this new TV show that’s on, I don’t want to forget and leave that love behind.
Does this make the rest of my life a bit bittersweet, yes. Would I rather give up the feeling of love? No, I really wouldn’t.