Grief and Its Lasting Results

Recovering from grief is extremely challenging. Mostly because there is no set timeline. You never know when it will creep up again and rear its devastating blows, bringing you right back to the start. 

Grief wraps itself around us, and it can be elusive when we are trying to heal—not letting us cry or emote our feelings when we want to, and forcing us to face it when we are unprepared. 

What is the answer? Sadly, there is no easy one. 

We need to learn how to live with our grief and be a willing participant in the journey it takes us on. 

We need to be ok with not being ok. 

We need to understand that we will always feel sad about the loss of a loved one, and hope that it’ll hurt a little less each day. 

Grief is a beautiful thing as well. It is a sign that we loved someone so deeply, that our life has forever been changed by that love. Each time we remember, we are keeping our loved ones alive. All those happy memories sit with us forever. This is a gift. 

Whenever I face my own grief, I remember that this overwhelming sadness is a result of the all-encompassing love I have felt and been given by that person. That grief is the mirror image of that love, and without one you can’t experience the other. 

There are things that can help. First, is the most obvious, the ritual of burial. Being around those who love you and the person you have lost is a soothing balm that starts you on your healing journey. 

In the past, I thought funerals were expensive and unnecessary. That was until I lost my dad two years ago.

One day he was in perfect health, the next he died in his sleep. He was only 67 years old. When he died, I felt my heart truly break for the first time. I lost time, burst into tears without provocation, and felt cold all the time. Shock and grief have physical effects on the body too, and it is important to recognize them and approach yourself with compassion and kindness. 

One thing that helped me move past the initial shock, anger, and sadness was writing my dad’s eulogy. I sat and wrote down my favorite memories, and I was flooded with so much love and appreciation for my wonderful father. Then sharing those memories with others who loved me and him started the healing process. I continued to write letters to my father whenever I felt sad. I never look at them, but knowing they are there is a comfort. 

Another thing that has helped me to heal is spreading my dad’s ashes. My dad loved adventure, and he and my stepmother spent 15 years traveling the US in an RV.  He loved seeing new places and meeting new people, so I decided I would spread his ashes in places he had never been. So far I have thrown his ashes off a mountain in Maine, and plan on spreading more when we visit Portugal this summer. 

Lastly, is letting yourself feel sad, whenever that may be…holidays or at 2:34p on a Saturday in June. Whenever you feel it, acknowledge it and express your sadness however it needs to come out. A big day for my grief is Valentine’s Day, which was my dad’s birthday. This past Valentine’s Day was no different. I cried throughout the day, and each time I felt better. I was surprised that I still felt so sad; however, now I’ve accepted that Valentine’s Day may never be about conversation hearts, boxed chocolates, or roses again, but grief for my dad, and I’m ok with that. 

I find myself feeling sad when I think of something I want to tell my dad, or when my daughter graduated high school, even when I’m walking my dog on a beautiful day. I still think of him every day. Each memory, each thought, is a gift because I know his love was so strong that it’ll always be there when I need it. It will be for you as well. 

My last parting thought is how I explain death to my children. There are only two certainties in life. You will be born, and you will die. You can’t control either, but you can control what happens in the middle. Live each day to the fullest, love with your whole heart and when your last day comes, it will be like you are going to sleep forever, leaving behind all the love you sowed into the world and be at peace. 

Like this Blog, try Sound Healing, The Benefits of Nature Walks, or Relieving Stress through a Healthy Work Life Balance.