This time of year brings up a lot of emotions for those dealing with loss and/or still in grief.
My father died 5 years ago this week after 3 weeks in ICU after falling backwards on the front steps and cracking his head. He never came out of the coma.
This wasn’t the first holiday season we spent in an ICUs or hospital over the years due to his or my moms surgeries.
GRIEF AND LOSS
While decorating and shopping, cooking and planning, there are many who will get stuck, stand paralyzed at times in pain and sadness, thoughts of the past and “if onlys”. There will be others who will run around frantically in a daze or trying to push the pain away. Still others sleep, or sit and sob.
There is no perfect way to grieve, but to grieve.
GRIEF IS REAL
If you are dealing with loss this year, I want to offer you a few tips that can help ease the pain from time to time and help you move through your transition.
1. Your feelings are your feelings, and they are normal.
Recognize that all feelings associated with loss and change are normal: grief, hurt, fear, sadness, anger, remorse, guilt or despair. Some may be very open with their feelings, while others may be very private. It is however important to feel your feelings (stuffing them will cause them to show up side-ways through your body in symptoms of illness and pain.)
2. Move your feelings out by journaling.
Keeping loops of thoughts in our heads is exhausting, unproductive and creates more stress. Journaling, the simple act of writing down deep and personal reflections on paper is often helpful. This process is just for you. File them away in a dresser drawer and tear them up later is you like.
3. Talk with a supportive and caring person.
Whether you talk to your minister, a counselor or a friend, find someone who will listen to what you are going through without telling you to change or guiding you in or out of it — just listen. Sometimes finding someone who has experienced a similar experience is helpful too. Basically, you just need to talk it out and release the energy of emotions from your body, mind and soul.
4. Share the good times and stories.
“Do you remember when …” is often a great way to communicate how much you loved that person. Some stories may be sad, leading you to cry with others and embrace in loving arms. Some stories may lead you to remember and realize what an interesting and fascinating life your loved one led. Still others may be humorous, causing us to laugh and cry with tears of joy.
5. Photos and personal treasures.
Photos are an easy way to remember someone and tell the stories attached to that time or place. Photos and personal items are tangible and may also help us to remember and pay tribute to their memory. This activity may be done in private or with others.
6. Physical touch.
Make sure to be held and hugged during this time. We too easily forget that as humans we need touch.
7. Sleep, eat, rest.
Make sure to take care of yourself by getting enough sleep and rest and eating regularly. Don’t skip meals or pick at food. Your body needs nutrition more in times like this when your immune and adrenal systems are bombarded with stressors, emotional upheaval and pain. Keep taking your vitamins as well.
8. Meditate, pray and breathe.
Whatever way is your way to pray, meditate, be quiet and centered, do it often during this time. Some people read scriptures and sing, others sit in the quiet or in the sunshine just feeling the silence, others go for walks and let nature help in their letting go and healing.
9. Be kind to yourself.
Above all, be kind to yourself. Give yourself permission to stop when you need to stop, cry when you need to cry, be angry when it shows up. It’s all part of the grief process that is normal and natural.
My thoughts go out to you this holiday season if you are feeling sadness over a loss.
Big hug, Kim