Grief is something I think a lot of us are dealing with right now, whether that be the loss of a person, the loss of a pet, the loss of a job, the loss of your sense of self. A lot of people have lost a lot this year due to the covid-19 situation, it has been such an intense year.
Loss and grief covers a wide range of things we experience and go through, its not just about losing a loved one
We can grieve over, divorce/relationship break up, loss of health, losing a job, loss of financial stability, miscarriage, retirement, loss of a pet, loss of a much sought after dream, loss of a friendship, loss of safety after trauma and selling the family home. But we can grieve over different things that are personal to us and that is absolutely ok. No matter how small and insignificant you think your loss is, its still ok to feel that grief, its such a personal thing and such a personal journey.
I decided to write about grief as I lost two people in my life this year and the biggest grief I’ve suffered so far in my life is the loss of my dad 9 years ago which was one of the hardest things I’ve experienced. Also a friend has recently had a big loss of a parent too and I wanted to use my experience to help them and others.
I don’t think that you can ever prepare yourself for any sort of loss, whether it be suddenly or over a prolonged illness. When that grief and loss hits, it hits so hard and I think what I wish I could change about my grieving process when I lost my dad was the people I was surrounded by. At first everyone was super lovely, so understanding and we’re all really great I couldn’t fault anyone but as time went on, people I had in my life at the time were fed up with my anger and depression and just the fact I was a complete and utter mess and this was only 6 months after I had lost my dad. It was like I was expected to have gotten over it by that point! The worst thing was I allowed that to influence me and I didn’t stand up for myself and I internalised just everything, didn’t talk to anyone about anything and just quietly dealt with it on my own, without the support from others who were meant to be there for me.
Do not ever let anyone tell you how you should feel and that you should be over it by now! because grief doesn’t work like that and I think what often isn’t talked about is that grief never leaves you, its always there like a part of you is missing. But over time whether is takes you 6 months, 1 year or 10 years you learn how to live with it, even though at the time you just feel so broken and feel like you’ll never be happy again, you will. You’ve got to give yourself time and the space to feel how you feel without letting outside influences telling you how you should be feeling.
After the loss of someone its ok to feel happy in the moment, its ok to feel relief, its ok to feel positive, don’t stop yourself from feeling however you feel because you think you’re supposed to feel a certain way. Just let those emotions flow through you, if you stop yourself from feeling however you feel, it will prolong the healing process.
Surround yourself with those who truly care about you and will hold that space for you, who will carry you through when you can’t carry yourself.
During times of grief self care is so important and so is having some sort of routine, but its also ok to do nothing. Try and keep up with the basic self care things like showering, taking medications, having a good sleep routine, even though cooking and eating is so difficult try to eat every day, get out for some fresh air, have some quiet time, talk to friends and family, try and do things you normally do and enjoy.
I like my lists, so writing lists of acts of self car that you can do daily may help to give you that focus and writing a journal will help so much for you to get out your feelings and help you process things and its just an amazing tool, especially if you make a habit of doing it on a daily basis, its such a simple tool but its so powerful.
Cry, cry a lot, you may find your just randomly bursting into tears and that is so normal, please don’t hold yourself back, don’t hold it in, let it out. I know when your start crying it may feel like you’ll never be able to stop but you will, you will be ok and you’ll probably have a really good sleep after. I don’t think I cried after I lost my dad till about 3/4 weeks after as I was just in shock and I just couldn’t cy, but once I did cry I cried a lot and for well over a year.
Sleep will be very hit and miss, I struggled so much to sleep at night. Especially after I went to see my dad’s body, every time I closed my eyes I saw his face. I do not regret one bit going to see his body at the funeral home, it was such a traumatic experience but I am so glad I saw him. He died very suddenly at the age of just 51 of a heart attack and he didn’t live locally to me so I needed to go and see him just to make sure it was really him. Even though after that I kept seeing his face I don’t regret it. My brother chose not to go and see our dad but its not something he regrets not doing, its very personal. If you think its something you’ll regret not doing 100% do it! because that will be your only chance. Take someone who can be strong for you, it’s such a hard thing to do but down the line when you’ve begun to heal you’ll be proud of yourself for going through that experience.
Back to sleep, so I struggled so bad with sleeping during the first few weeks and I asked my GP for some sleeping tablets, just so I could get through that first few weeks of stress. But after those had ran out, I often didn’t sleep a lot at night and slept a lot during the day and you know that was absolutely ok, I did what I needed to do in order to survive. Although as time went by I did try get back into a better sleep routine, so going to bed at the same time every night, getting up at the same time etc. Lack of sleep will make you feel so much worse and will make everything seem so huge, so getting enough sleep is so importnant.
I think that’s all I can really say about it, don’t rush yourself, feel how you feel, don’t let others tell you how you should be feeling. You will feel ok again, no matter how dark and sad you feel right now, you will see that light again. But don’t rush the journey, its your path to take just know it will all be ok again. You are so much stronger then you think you, even if you feel like you’re not, you so are! You can do it.
Always honour your emotions.
Much love to anyone out there who have been effected by grief, hold on, the light will always be near.