If you’re reading this, it’s likely you’ve lost someone that you loved a whole lot. I’m so sorry for your loss.
Seeing as there is no handbook on death and grief, chances are you went through the motions and emotions as they came and went. At least that’s what I’m doing. It seems like that is the only protocol to grief.
Death leaves a void like no other. It starts as a gaping wound and over time it appears to begin to heal. Although I have a sneaky suspicion that it never fully heals. It just hurts less and less over time.
Grief, why must you linger? Although, it oddly makes perfect sense that you do.
It’s been almost four months since my mom died – I still struggle with the reality of it at times. I go over her death in my head, I can replay the entire three days leading up to it – I’m certain I’m experiencing a bit of PTSD.
The truth of the matter is she is gone and I need to implement healthy ways to feel my way thru my grief.
I have collected tools from books, my yoga practice, bereavement websites, psychologists, and fellow humans on how to care for me as I make my way thru this journey.
They’re here to share for those who need a reminder to self-care while grieving.
Mindful breathing is such a powerful tool. It allows you to feel centered, grounded, and in control. Meditation also creates space for healing and for feeling. Headspace is a wonderful app. You can also find a quiet spot to sink into and breathe. Try taking 5-10 deep breaths with your eyes closed, it’s ok if you mind wonders, just come back to your inhale and exhale.
Be kind to yourself.
It’s normal to feel confused and out of sorts after the loss of a loved one. Be gentle with you. Grief has no handbook on how to act or feel. I learned quickly that there is no guide or preparation to grieving – I said and did things that looking back at them now – seemed odd. It’s ok.
Talk about your loved one (when you’re ready to).
Talk about them, let family and friends know that it’s ok to remember your loved one in conversation. Sometimes people don’t want to bring them up out of fear of making you feel sad – give them permission that it’s ok to hold space for someone who is no longer with us. Chances are, they may want to talk about them too.
Get out in nature and feel the sun.
Studies show that nature helps the mood, mind, and body. The hues of mother nature and the feeling of wind whisking by can elevate your mood and have you feeling present. You may even get a sign from your loved one.
Jump in the water.
Whether it’s the pool, lake, bathtub, standing in the rain – submerge yourself in water. H20 cleanses the mind, body, and soul. Float or soak with your eyes closed, listen to yourself breathe – water meditation is one of my favorites. With that being said, drink plenty of water too. Gotta stay hydrated.
Ask for help.
How many times have you heard, “let me know if there is anything I can do”? Take them up on the offer and ask for the help you need.
It’s ok to not want to talk to certain people at this time.
Not every person is the best at dealing with another person’s loss and that is ok. It’s also ok to not want to talk with certain folks for whatever reason while you learn how you are dealing with your grief. You may need time to protect yourself and your heart.
Cry it out.
I’ve found that whether you want to hold it in or not – it’s coming out, either way, so you might as well go with the flow of the waves of grief. There was a point when I couldn’t stop crying. I’d run to my car after work, tears bottled up for eight full hours. The moment I was in my driver seat, a tsunami of tears. Just the other day I saw a woman at work who resembled June, off to the bathroom I went to sit in the stall and cry. At times it will hit you like a ton of bricks…let it, it’s you grieving.
Take care of yourself.
Eat well. Exercise. Get a massage. Take a yoga class. Do all the things that make your mind and body feel good. You need to stay healthy and strong. After June died, I developed severe back problems. The pain was so bad I would wake up crying. I finally got my act together and treated myself to proper massages to relieve the tension in my muscles which helped with my mood and emotions.
Talk to someone.
A friend who is an excellent listener, a therapist, pastor, teacher, healer, someone who knows what it feels like to lose a loved one. You’ll know the right person based on how they make you feel. They’re out there for you.
Spend some time alone.
Solo moments are so good for the soul. It allows personal time to grieve, think, and heal. To remember your loved one. You can do anything by yourself. Stay in and couch it. See a movie. Take yourself to dinner or for a mani/pedi. Go out in nature for a meditation. You do you.
Remember, you’re not alone.
Grief can feel really f*cking lonely but know you’re not alone even when you feel like the saddest person on the planet. Someone is out there for you to talk to, hug, or cry on the phone with.
Laugh and enjoy your life.
Because that is exactly what your loved one would want. I know for a fact June would be pissed if all I did was sit around and cry. When she first died, I felt guilty in having fun – now I know I need to in order to create a normal setting for myself. Death is a reminder that life is short – live life to the fullest and eat the freaking cake.