Grief – Inevitable yet Despicable.
“No-one ever told me that grief felt so like fear” (C S Lewis, A Grief Observed).
Grief – it happens to us all.
Grief is how each of us responds to loss.
Loss of a loved one, loss of a job, loss of a home, loss of a limb or another body part, loss of a pet, loss of a dream, loss of truth, loss of freedom, loss of looks, loss of youth, loss of children in the home – the loss of anything you hold dear or hold with importance.
Recently, a friend lost his battle with cancer, his family lost their beloved husband and father.
Recently, a friend was told of her redundancy from a 30 year career.
Recently, a friend lost her breasts to cancer.
Recently, a friend lost her beloved pet.
Recently, a friend lost his dream.
Recently, a friend lost his children through divorce.
Grief is the reaction to a loss – we all react differently, for grief is as individual as each one of us experiencing it.
Sometimes we negate our grief – to not show ‘weakness’ or ‘vulnerability’ or ‘I don’t have time for it’.
Experiencing grief has also been described as ‘a sort of invisible blanket between the world and me. I find it hard to take in what anyone says… if only they would talk to one another and not me..” (C S Lewis, A Grief Observed).
In my experience, grief grabs you like nothing else can. Grief holds on like a boa constrictor; grief creates its own slow-motion movie; grief becomes the most important being in your life at the expense of others; grief is like a fierce bush fire; grief shows your best and your worst; grief makes you want it all and nothing at the same time.
When we experience grief, we experience a Tsunami of emotions:
Fear– of the future, of being alone, of self worth, of your own mortality, of forgetting.
Anger – Why did you leave me? Why did God let that happen? I’ve been such a good/loyal
employee! I/they could have done more.
Guilt – For needing help. I should have done/been more. I should have spent more time…
Shame – For feeling any of the above, for hurting so much, for needing help, for appearing
Overwhelm – how can I cope? How can I do it all? How can I get out of bed? How can I eat?
How can I live up to expectations? How can I look after myself/kids/parent…?
During grief we may feel some of these, or all of these, even at the same time. It is such a confusing time, such a lonely time – even when you are surrounded by others.
There are stages of grief – shock/denial, pain/guilt, anger, bargaining, depression/reflection/loneliness, reconstructing and acceptance/hope. These may appear in any order, back to front, upside down or all in the same moment and back again!
You may feel no-one else knows how you feel – you may feel isolated and alone. It is right that no-one knows how you are feeling, for how you are feeling will be informed by your own past experiences, your own beliefs, your own world view and your own self promises.
What you will have in common with others during grief, are the waves of emotion, the vulnerability, the pain and the loss.
In modern life, in the lives we live, we are encouraged ‘get over’ things before their time – leaving hospital four hours after child birth, return to work too soon after an operation etc… It is the same with grief – the perceived expectation that you will be ‘over it’ in a week, in a month, a year? The truth is that grief has a mind of its own, will stay around as long as it wants, will create a life of sorrow and isolation for ever if you allow it.
You may start to feel bitter, lonely, non-trusting or you simply pretend how you are, you may wear a mask to show the world a reflection of what you think they want. At some time and for your own reasons these may be valid, but not forever, not to envelope your world.
The challenge within grief is to remain open-hearted, to allow your vulnerability, to let go of bitterness or anger, to allow your memories their due respect and to allow the time itself.
During grief, your body feels it strongly. Your body may enter the extreme stress reaction known as Fright/Flight/Freeze. Your body may react as if there is great danger around you and so begins the physical processes of danger within your body. This may last for a long time, until your body knows or feels safe again.
You may have trouble sleeping and experience a decrease in energy – the ‘lethargy of grief‘.
You may experience muscle aches and pains, shortness of breath, digestive issues, tightness in the chest or throat, being sensitive to noise, heart palpitations, queasiness/nausea, headaches, an increase in allergy symptoms, changes in appetite, weight changes, agitation and decreased immunity . These are all different ways that your body communicates about its special needs.
Grief can lead to serious disorders and health problems. ‘Prolonged grief‘ is grief in its intense form 6 months after the event. ‘Complicated grief‘ is when the feeling don’t decrease. These serious issues may include suicidal thoughts, depression, difficulty completing daily tasks, an increase in tobacco or drug or alcohol use. You may experience increased irritability, numbness, bitterness, detachment, preoccupation with the loss or an inability to show or experience loss, or a decreased desire to attend work/school/social gatherings..
In Traditional Chinese Medicine the Lung meridian is most effected during grief. This meridian runs from under your collorbone on both sides, down each arm and finishes at your thumb nail on the outer edge . The Lung meridian also governs our breath and immunity. When our lung meridian is out of balance we may experience skin conditions, lowered immunity or even digestive issues because of the connection to the Large Intestine meridian.
The heart meridian is also knocked around during grief – love of others or ourselves can get severely shaken during grief.
During grief our energetic body will also be shaken, stirred, stretched or wounded. It is our energetic body that will then effect us physically and emotionally.
During grief, your most basic and special need is ‘Nurture’ – physically, emotionally, cognitively, socially and spiritually.
To nurture yourself you need to slow down and listen to your body. When emotions and beliefs are held in our bodies, stagnation and blockages may occur. To ‘carry on’ or ‘keep busy’ discourages self-nurture. We must allow courage within that will pay attention to our needs. Self care includes ‘right actions, right living and right thoughts’. Indeed, self care is to be gentle on yourself, to be easy on your body and truthful in your spirit.
Allow time and compassion to travel with you through grief, so you may discover living and loving again.
There are some Essential Oils that can help support and nurture during grief – you could include oil in a bath, or burn it in an oil burner, or put some on a tissue and put it under your pillow…
Rose Oil – is fabulous for soothing, for love and compassion.
Melissa Oil – for shock or trauma.
Neroli Oil – for emotional support.
Patchouli Oil – for bereavement or depression.
Rosemary Oil – for confusion or lethargy.
Cedarwood Oil – for grounding.
Lavender Oil – for calming.
Jasmine Oil – for soothing.
Crystals that may aid in your support during grief are:
Rose quartz – for healing a broken heart.
Aquamarine – for release
Amethyst – for tranquillity and decreases blocks.
Moonstone – for optimism.
Apache Tear – for clearing negative emotions and for grounding.
My own experience with grief has taught me much:
Don’t make big decisions for many months.
Don’t use drugs/alcohol to numb yourself.
Don’t drive yourself into the ground.
Don’t stop your normal routine.
Do Write/draw/sketch/sew/knit to express yourself and let some of your internal world out.
Do honour yourself and that which is lost by:
plant a tree/favourite plant
make a ‘memories album’
get a tattoo
learn something new that you have always wanted to
self care/self passion/ self inner work.
There will come a time, there will be a day that you find a smile – do it! Don’t feel guilty, don’t feel your are not honouring your loved one, but do feel able to find a spark in your day, in your eye and in your world. One day you will actually laugh out loud – do it without guilt, without worry and without doubt. One day you will wake up and head to work without despair – embrace that day, for it means there is light at the end of the tunnel. One day you may not think of your grief until lunch time… don’t feel guilty, don’t feel dis-loyal, but know you can have time where there is no grief. You will have good days and bad days – the ebb and flow of grief – the waves crashing in and flowing out. There will be many ‘firsts’ to experience – know that they will come and be prepared for the memories, the pain and the remembered grief.
In my experience, grief never leaves you, but the intensity changes greatly with time. Grief will stay with you, but you will learn to leave it where it belongs, so that it doesn’t hold you like a Boa Constrictor, but rather the gentle touch of a lover.
Through periods of grief in my life I have held fast to the words of the Psalmist – “He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge, His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart” (Psalm 91:4)
If you think you are experiencing grief, if you think you need help to self-care or self-nurture, please seek professional help.
You may seek help from family members or friends. I urge you to reach out, to seek help, to show vulnerability so that you may move through your grief, so that you can eventually learn to smile, to laugh and to live with all your heart.
Kinesiology can help repair your energy fields, can help your meridians flow, can help held emotions move from your body and can also support you through the pain of loss and grief.
If you would like help, or need advise, please contact me and I will be honoured to walk with you through your grief and help you recover with gentleness and grace.
I would love you to leave a comment below – how you have made it through the Tsunami of grief. Let’s support each other with our stories and our experiences.
You can contact me on 0411361730;
or via the WWW at in2balancekinesiology.com.au
or in an emergency, contact:
Lifeline on 13 11 14
or your local GP.
In Calm, Flow and Balance,