Are you currently dealing with a loss in your life? Perhaps it’s a family member. Maybe it’s a beloved pet. Or it could be you are grieving someone that is still physically around, such as a past romance, a friendship, or any reason someone may not be part of your life anymore. It could be the loss of a job, or a home, or even a car that has you grieving. Maybe you are grieving who you once were, or who you thought you would become. Grief is a BIG word, fully loaded with intense emotion, and affects everyone differently. I’ve experienced all the above in my life and most of them have had a direct impact on the person I am today. The person I became because of walking with grief and not just through it.
My first loss came as a young child when my grandma died in an accident. I was too young to understand what was happening and yet I know it had an impact, especially seeing my mom crying in pain when the news came. My paternal grandparents died in my early 20s. I did not know them that well but was sad for my dad and his siblings. I grieved over selling my loft while knowing it was the right decision. I’ve grieved over the three men I’ve loved and lost in my life, and I certainly was sad for the other men that I ‘liked a lot’. I’ve grieved over friendships that ended, even while knowing it was for the best. I’ve grieved over my fur babies throughout the years and I know my time is limited with my Meeks who just turned 15. My father passed nearly 13 years ago which added a new layer and intensity to my grieving journey. I’ve been told that his death was what led me to create Positive Focus. Through all my walks with grief, there has also been a lot of self-growth, love, and laughter along the way. Grief isn’t just in the tears, it is also in the laughter. I have walked with love and happiness far more than I’ve walked with grief. Both have had an important role to play in life.
On Dec. 14th, I began a new walk with grief, as my mom passed away. The grief is fresh and intense as it’s not quite been six weeks. There has been a lot of crying and I don’t see that ending anytime soon, yet I know it will subside. She had health challenges for many years prior and faced each one with such grace as she simply loved being with her kids, grandkids, great-grandkids, and Meeks. My two sisters and I shared in caregiving for her and as such spent a great deal of time with her that I will cherish. I had grieved my mom many times prior to her actual passing. I grieved times when we had close calls. I grieved her losing her independence as she was a very independent woman. I grieved thinking she wasn’t my ‘rock’ anymore as I had to be her rock. I grieved her being gone well before she was gone and had to remind myself to enjoy the NOW as there will be plenty of time to grieve when grief truly visited. I had countless talks with my dad over the years, telling him he couldn’t have her yet, until this past December, when I told him to be there for her when she came.
I didn’t realize until after she was gone, her health journey taught me a lot too. Not just about grieving, but also about living. At the time, it was let’s get through the latest challenge and keep her happy and as healthy as possible. Looking back, she taught me that regardless of the circumstances you go through in life, you can face each one with a strong will to LIVE, to face life with grace and kindness, and to give life your best…even on your not so good days.
Six weeks into this journey I know it will get easier as time moves on. However, I doubt it will ever be easy. I will continue to walk with it. She was not just my rock, but the very foundation that I stand from on love, kindness, and compassion. Walking with grief is a very individual journey regardless of the reason you are grieving. My siblings, all of who loved mom dearly, are all grieving in their own way.
If you find yourself walking with grief, I invite you to move forward by:
Being gentle with yourself. Whatever has you in a state of grief, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution to your grief. Walk with it and move through it at your pace, not the pace of others or what society may think is appropriate.
Not labeling it. Grief is so very individualized, what you grieve, may not be something another would grieve. Grieving itself may show up as deep sadness, or denial and going on with your life as it hadn’t happened. It’s about how you feel rather than what you think.
Understanding that even with a heavy heart, you can feel immense love too. That has certainly been my experience with all my different walks with grief, and certainly the biggest with my mom.
Remembering the good and great times you shared. They say that deep grief means there was deep LOVE. Place your focus on what you had rather than what you lost.
Being okay with your emotions. Whether you are six weeks, six months, or even six years out, I encourage you to be gentle with your emotions and continue to focus on the good times. This has been a challenge for me on getting comfortable with the tears showing up whenever they choose to flow…which is often.
Remembering that grief is a journey. Just like life, grief is a journey too. There will be times the path seems clear and smooth and then you’ll find yourself lost in the swamps of sadness, not knowing your way out of it. Same as life, sometimes it’s smooth sailing and sometimes it’s rough seas. LOVE yourself through it all.
Knowing they are still here. You can talk to them, they just can’t answer the same way as before. I believe this is true for the loss of people you have chosen to no longer have in your life. We are all energy and you can still talk to them on an energetic level. I certainly send love to those who are no longer in my physical life knowing of the energetic connection.
Mostly, my wish is that you take the time you need while you walk with grief and continue walking towards the new you that is being birthed from this experience.
Until next time, you are LOVED through your celebrations, and you are LOVED through your sorrows.
Much LOVE and hugs,
PS: I wrote this many years ago and yet still had my mom in mind: Today Life Moved On.
I am gentle with myself and honor my feelings.
Words to LOVE by:
“Tears are the silent language of grief.” – Voltaire
“The friend who can be silent with us in a moment of despair or confusion, who can stay with us in an hour of grief and bereavement, who can tolerate not knowing… not healing, not curing… that is a friend who cares.” – Henri Nouwen
“Denial helps us to pace our feelings of grief. There is a grace in denial. It is nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle.” – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross
Sounds for the Soul: