“Grief is varied and unpredictable. Grief may bring surprises. No two people grieve the same, even for the same death. We each experience grief in our own unique way.”
Greetings my darlings,
Regardless of you are on this planet, I think we can all say that 2020 has brought with it much loss in the way of unprecedented deaths due to the pandemic. On top of other loved ones dying as a result of unrelated illnesses, accidents, etc., pandemic related deaths seem to have left everyone with an overwhelming magnitude of grief and trauma that will will no doubt be triggering as we move into the holidays.
Holidays are always difficult when you’ve lost someone. And especially difficult is the “first” of any holiday without that person. As adults, we sometimes forget that children and teens grieve too, and it may look very different than the way we are grieving. Overall, grief has it’s own way with each and every individual. It has its own timeline, it’s varied, unpredictable and life-altering.
If you know me or follow my blog, you know that I am a HUGE self-care advocate. As one of my lovely soul sisters told me the other day, “You play hard and self-care hard.” Indeed! I think that’s an accurate depiction of me.
As with all things divinely ordained, I happened to come across a booklet I picked up when arranging some funeral details with a family member a few years ago. I happened to open up to the page on tips for grieving people, which then was the inspiration for this blog. Since we are heading into the holidays, I thought I’d share these tips with you:
Comfort yourself with nourishing foods.
Surround yourself with pleasing sights and calming sounds.
Limit caffeine, alcohol and other mind-altering substances.
Develop an evening routine to help transition toward to sleep; create a comfortable place to rest.
Learn about the physical, emotional, mental or spiritual aspects of grief so that you can accept and adapt to your current limitations.
Recall your special qualities that endeared you to your loved one.
Keep a journal of your activities, thoughts, feelings and dreams.
Listen to your favorite music; do something creative.
Engage in mild exercise such as walking, swimming or biking.
Carry out fulfilling activities when you can tolerate them.
Start slowly; set minimal goals; pay attention to fatigue and emotional limitations.
Directly discuss your work concerns/limitations with a supervisor.
Resist making major changes right away.
Adjust expectations of yourself and others.
Let others know that you may need to leave early from a social event or decide not to come at all.
When it feels right, find new activities or make new friends.
Support from Others:
Keep in touch with supportive people; unburden yourself with people you trust who can offer “receptive presence.”
Seek others with whom you can share memories of your loved one.
Structure some time alone to be in touch with yourself.
Limit contact with those who are less than supportive.
Let others know specifically how they can help.
Join a bereavement group where others can relate to what you are experiencing.
Seek a grief counselor if you think this might be helpful.
Seek the spiritual care you need from a designated person in your spiritual community.
Relating to Other Family Members:
Give one another time and space to allow each to react in his or her own way.
Avoid engaging in conflict. If there are differences among you, trust you’ll gradually find firmer ground with each other.
Recall your loved one’s values, principles or ways of doing things.
Continue to do things and repeat traditions you did with your loved one, as you’re able.
Start new traditions and rituals at holidays and other special times.
Support projects or good works in your loved ones name and let his or her spirit live through your actions.
Carry out plans you weren’t able to complete together.
Affirm the meaning of your loved one’s life by recording memories of who he or she was and will always be.
Visit the cemetery and talk with your loved one.
Continuing the Bond:
Intentionally saver pleasurable memories. By remembering, actively call your loved ones presence to mind and heart.
When feeling uncertain, listen for what your loved one would say and how he or she would affirm your accomplishment.
Ask for guidance from your loved one. Take comfort in knowing you rely on his or her continuing influence.
Find ways to include your loved one in your day – by preparing a favorite dish, going someplace to enjoy together, etc.
Examine any “unfinished business” with your loved one by talking it out with a trusted friend, faith practitioner or counselor.
Write a letter to your loved one, sharing things you would like to have said before the death.
Finally, remember to tell yourself, “I’m doing the best I can today.“
It is my heartfelt wish that you have found some level of comfort and/or understanding of the grieving process and that these tips may assist you as you move forward throughout your days.
Darlings, please remember that grief is a process with no expiration date. Being physically and/or socially distanced makes grieving even more challenging and traumatic. Sadly, this is our new reality these days.
As we head into Thanksgiving Week, may we remember to be kind and gentle with ourselves and those around us! JTC