This week on Jack of All Trades Blog, I continue what I started last week. On last week’s blog, I discussed the different types of grief. This week I will help you all with how to deal with grief while also being good to yourself while you heal.
Last week, I introduced one of the hardest losses my family has ever dealt with. The loss of my uncle really effected my family as a whole, but individually we grieved differently. For instance, I had dreams about my uncle coming back to life. Yes, I literally mean like Jesus. I vividly remember the dream. My entire family was gathered together at a giant church having the funeral service and my uncle was in his casket when all of a sudden he got up. As soon as he got up, everyone celebrated. I remember seeing my grandmother crying tears of joy and just hugging him. The service then went from a very somber atmosphere to that of a celebration. In my dream, we all sang happy birthday to my uncle. After we all finished singing, my uncle drops down and is dead again and I woke up. I really have no explanation, but I didn’t have any more dreams. I was afraid to tell anyone about this dream because it was just so unusual. Looking back on it, I almost feel like that dream was my way of saying that was the end and he wasn’t going to be coming back.
I feel that my grief wasn’t as intense as other peoples’ grief. My grandmother, for instance, for the first few days did nothing but cry. The night that she found out that my uncle passed away she just wept in her bed and kept saying, “No puede ser.” For all of my non-Spanish speaking folk, that means, “It can’t be.” During that time, I could tell that she was in disbelief. She couldn’t believe that her first born son was gone from this Earth. For days to follow, my grandmother had no motivation to do anything. She didn’t want to cook or clean. She could only muster up enough strength to get out of bed and dressed. It progressively got better but it wasn’t until she went on a trip to visit her sister in Puerto Rico that I finally saw someone that found their new normal and new way to live. She started to cherish the little things. Her sister lived in a house on stilts on a mountain. It wasn’t much, but it was home. It made my grandmother realize that she was very fortunate to have the house that she did. To have the car that she did. To have life. Her sister had lost a son as well and they were both able to help each other.
Grieving is a vital part in losing someone. Grief is one of those emotions that have a life of their own. It carries every feeling within it and sometimes there’s no way to discern it. Here are some ways to help you deal with grief:
1. Self Care, Self Care, Self Care (Did I mention Self Care?)
The shock of loss to all of our bodies—emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual—is superb. When we wake in the morning, we question the very nature of who we are. Upon awakening there is a split second when everything is okay in our world.
And then we remember. The storm clouds cover our head again.
Our bodies need to be fed during this time, in order to handle such trauma. Self-care is personal. Do things that you know your body wants:
Essential oil baths, journaling, reading inspiring books, talking with friends/family, getting outdoors for some fresh air, talking walks, meditating, exercising, or even a massage.
Do things that you know your body needs.
2. Accept there’s a lot you don’t know
When the pain of loss happens, it’s like a lighting bolt comes and shakes the foundation of the ground. We question everything—our identity, who we are, where we come from, and where we’re going. There is power in surrendering to the unknown.
In coming to accept that we no longer have control over what happens to us, we realize that what we once knew we no longer can know. In fact, much of the spiritual experience is coming to realize all that we are not, and less about what we think we are or what we know.
Here, there is great freedom. And it helps us to meet life’s adversity with courage, head-on.
3. Allow time and space
When doing my research for this blog, I learned that it takes two years to grieve the loss of a loved one. TWO YEARS! In human time, that seems like an eternity. There are stages. And each stage brings a remembrance, especially once you start hitting the “year marks.”
During the last year, each “mark” feels empty without that person. “Oh, this would have been his 50th birthday,” “Oh, this is the day my uncle died,” “Oh, this was the last holiday we spent together…”
Recognizing that grief needs time and allowing space for the grief process to unfold gives you permission to hold that great bowl. Don’t think that grief will go away in one night.
4. Accept that sometimes you have a bad day for no apparent reason
Months, even over a year in you will have a day (or several) where it felt like there was no reason at all to feel in the dumps. You may refuse to let it get to you. “Stay productive, keep it going; at least, that’s what your uncle would want.”
But on those days, you may just be held up at home. Watch Reality TV or that show you just never got around to seeing. Read a magazine. Watch a chick flick. Order a pizza and eat the whole thing.
Grief pressures you to go within. Tell your friends, “Bad day. Can’t talk. That’s all.”
Don’t try to force it to be something different. It is okay to take time for yourself away from the outside world. Always remember that a bad day only lasts 24 hours.
5. Allow light in the middle of it all
Although there are many weeks of despair that seem to bleed together, like a faded diary dropped in a hot bath, there were days in between when you will experience joy.
A fun lunch out with a friend, a spontaneous adventure day with a sibling, a no-reason-to-be-happy-day when you feel vibrant and creative. Or get dressed up and go to that party that you really didn’t want to go to. It may be one of the best nights of your life.
Embrace those days and don’t feel guilty. Life is to be lived, because one day—and we all know the adage—we will die.
6. Accept that this too shall pass
Like everything else, all suffering will go, until one day it comes again.
The greatest thing about death is that it helps us grow up. It matures us. It brings wisdom. It strengthens our bones. It teaches us to let go.
We learn we can go through hard times, and with little effort the sun shines again. We can take off our shoes and touch toes to sand and run on the beach, knowing that we made it through. Our happiness never really went away—it still exists inside of us—yet, we are remembering it anew. Fresh, transformed, aliveness engages us again.
You don’t have to grieve alone. Always remember that I am here for you if you ever need a friend to talk to. Please feel free to send me a message. I’ll always be glad to help. ♥Jackie