You thought that things were progressing well for you, in dealing with your own personal grief, until a friend experiences a loss. Then, suddenly, you find yourself once again deeply reminded of your own emotional pain.
Sights, sounds and smells are also high on the trigger list. It's almost as if our senses are out there doing the searching for us.
The trick is to let these triggers become opportunities for you to continue to do your grief work, without making you miserable.
don't let someone else's grief become your own - and vise versa.
It’s very common that you hear someone else at a funeral sharing their own similar experience with a new griever, when, ideally, they should be focused on their friend’s need to share their story and feelings. Do not launch into your own grief story unless you sense that told gently and sensitively, it will offer something worth hearing. You may have to wait months or years for it to be useful to your friend. Remember, this is about your friend's needs and story, not yours.
Be there to help your friend, but remember to be a good caretaker you must also take care of yourself. Allow yourself to be happy and do not feel guilty for taking time away from your friends grief. Allow yourself time to deal with your own grief - whether it be for the same person your friend lost or grief that is coming back up due to the loss of someone else in your past.
how to deal with "triggers".
Do not run from your triggers. Instead learn to use them as a tool to work through your grief. Triggers will help you stay focused on your grief and will carry you into a deeper place of your grief journey than you could have ever done on your own. This is a good thing.
Use these triggers to remember your loved one and not the loss of them. Seeing a photograph or old piece of clothing can remind you that they are no longer here but can also bring you to a memory of good times together. Hearing their favorite song can remind you they are no longer able to enjoy the melody but can remind you to stop and enjoy the little things. Having someone walk by wearing their signature scent can bring tears to your eyes but those can be happy tears when you remember that they also used to wear WAY too much of it.
Learning to use your triggers to bring positivity to your journey through grief will no doubt put you on the right path.
grief has no end and is simply a path you must walk on.
You decide what that path will look like. Will you choose to pave the path with good memories or will you go down the dark path of grief that only leads you back to the past.
Hang in there. You are not alone in this journey through grief. You will not always feel this way. The overall message is that grief does not need to be a crippling destructive force in our lives - you will learn to use the triggers for good.
IT IS THE CAPACITY TO FEEL CONSUMING GRIEF AND PAIN AND DESPAIR, THAT ALSO ALLOWS ME TO EMBRACE LOVE AND JOY AND BEAUTY WITH MY WHOLE HEART. I MUST LET IT ALL IN.
the heroine author talks about her battle with grief
For those of you who may not know Cheryl Hunter - she is a super talented lady from Bonnyville. Cheryl is an Author and Motivational Speaker who has most recently published her first book "Heroine".
Here is her Bio:
We've been continuing on our journey through grief and hoped she would have something to contribute.
Here is her story:
Feeling is Dealing
Slow punishing rhythms of sorrow
Please someone's fertility can I borrow
One moment I'm brave and strong
The next I swear life is all wrong
So grateful and yet so torn
I need to allow myself to mourn
How does that look
Waves of emotion cutting me like a jagged hook
I am exposed. Open for the world to see
Please God allow my pain to set me free
Send a wave of love and constant peace to rescue me
We often talk about how to deal with grief. Follow these set steps to find your way through the dark…
Grief is universal. It affects everyone – Every age, race, gender, and group. It doesn't discriminate. We all at some point face it and either we surrender to it or it will it swallow us like a continuous wave.
How to deal with grief? That question is so complex. Though grief is universal, everyone deals with it in their own unique way.
So, is there a right way to grieve and move on? Instead of providing a few steps on how one could cope and deal to move past their grief, I am going to offer a different perspective - How to feel grief.
I'm a person who was always taught to move on. To have a cry and then rise above. Look to the bright side. See the glass half full and don't focus on the pain. I do think that's good at a certain point in the process, but we are missing the key part of the whole healing journey if we don't teach people how to feel.
As a teenager, I lost my home to a fire. My dad faked his death in my twenties and later I survived three horrific miscarriages. I know grief intimately. It's been my biggest nemesis and my greatest teacher.
I spent years "trying" to deal with my grief. And to no avail I was still drowning in the waves of agony. I had to come to the realization that in order to truly heal, I had to feel the deep-rooted despair.
I'm learning to sense the pain and let it consume me. Let it take hold and honour whatever emotion arises to the surface. It's ok to feel it. It's safe to fully grieve. It’s what your mind, body, and soul need to heal from that pain.
From my own experience, if you keep pushing those emotions down deeper and deeper - You become your own prison. The worst prisons are the ones you don't even know you are in. That is grief. It's a silent killer and it will rot you from the inside out if you don't allow yourself to feel it and heal from it.
Cry. Yell. Scream. Be still-Feel it. Let it out so it doesn't take root.
I never truly felt the misery and the loss from watching my home burn to the ground. My home was no longer safe. After that, I was face to face with depression in my family and the sadness that slowly strangled my household pushed me deeper into grief. I thought I was dealing with my pain by simply moving forward each day but in fact I just pushed it further down. Then miscarriage after miscarriage happened and I couldn’t shove it any further. It started to overflow. Grief seeped out of my pores. I spent 20 years in that prison and I was shackled to the sorrow. I needed to break free. One day I had an epiphany. “I need to feel it to truly heal and to let it go.”
My story isn’t to tell you how to grieve and how to move on but rather how to touch it and let it devour you. Let yourself feel it with all your being and all your senses. Let it flow through you. Let the sorrow be introduced to your soul. It’s so needed for the healing process. Yet we try to deny that step. Is it torture? Yes. But I promise you it’s freedom. On the other side of the pain is healing. It’s from that pain you progress. You just need to feel it for a moment in time and then allow yourself to move through it. By feeling and dealing you will arise through the ashes and emerge stronger because you allowed the pain to increase your depth and grit.
Because once you realize if you stop fighting the waves, you will float to the top and breathe again.
You have led a prison break.
Self-care during grief can help you recover mentally, physically and emotionally. Just doing one of these things can make a large impact, so don't feel like you need to work through the list and get them all done. The list below is in no particular order, so read through and see what feels right.
1. Be kind to yourself and allow yourself some grace.
When someone we love is taken from us, we are immediately flooded with emotion. What we must first learn is that we should allow ourselves some grace. Acknowledge your feelings and sense that what feelings you are having are valid. There are no right and wrong feelings with grief and mourning. Some days all we can do is breathe and know that just breathing is enough.
Self-compassion is great for healing. Give yourself the space to feel the pain of grief, and give yourself permission to take a break when needed.
Allow grace for other people too. Most times they do not know how to react or what to say. Consider that they are trying to do the best they can and remember that when dealing with others.
- The above is an excerpt from "3 Life Lessons From Death" from the Zenful Goddess.
Self-care tip - Place one hand on your heart. Say to yourself "I care about you. You are enough Whatever you are feeling is ok."
2. get a check-up.
When you are grieving, your chances for illness increase due to stress. While grief is a natural process and not an illness, it is a good time to check in with a healthcare professional to address any health issues that may come up due to stress.
If you are sleeping more than you did before your loss, know that this may just be what your body needs. But if excessive amounts of sleep is affecting you negatively, then take the take to get in more sunlight and address any irregularities in your sleep patterns.
Make sure you are not only getting enough sleep but proper restful sleep.
Self-care tip - Try meditating before going to bed. This will contribute to a more restful nights sleep.
4. Eat healthy and drink lots of water.
It is very important to eat healthy when under the stress of grief. The more you take care of your physical body the more likely you are to be able to cope with the stress. Drink lots of water, it will help energize your physical and mental state.
Avoid alcohol, as it will negatively impact your sleep and mood.
5. Breathe mindfully.
Breathing mindfully can help in two ways. First, it can help with stress. Second, it helps you stay in the moment and contributes to your mental well-being.
Self-care tip - Take several breaks throughout the day to breathe mindfully. Close your eyes. Take 3 deep breaths - focusing on the inhale and exhale. Finish it off by focusing on your natural breath.
6. move your body.
Any kind of physical activity will help relieve the tension of stress from grief. Exercise will contribute to better sleep, mental stability and an overall sense of well-being.
Self-care tip - Practice Yoga with meditation before going to sleep.
7. connect with others.
One of the most important things you can do is to surround yourself with people who care about you. If you do not want to feel like a burden to those around you, find a support group or mentor to talk to. These people are there to listen and talk specifically about your grief.
8. Express and create.
If you are already a crafty person, get back into a medium that you love. If you are not, find something that you can immerse yourself into. Creating can help you focus and help promote a mental state of well-being.
Self-care tip - Find or create a grief journal.