Posts filed under Grief

Why am I so exhausted?

Grieving is hard work. It is so much more complicated than people think. Other people do not see the beehive of emotions, thoughts, feelings that are buzzing around right in front of your face. I mean, right there in front of you face! Your friends and family are afraid to bring up your loss because they don’t want to bring you down. They don’t realize that the loss of your loved one is always there, always. It’s never on the back burner. Your memories, regrets, guilt, the longing for the physical body, the emptiness, the concern about the future, finances—those feelings are always there, buzzing in front of your face day and night. No wonder sleeping is often difficult.

A task like getting death certificates to the right places feels criminal at this time. Can’t the bill collectors and institutions give you a break? The bureaucracy of death is overwhelming.

The key is to ask for help, if you can, to get you through these tasks. All those well-meaning people who say, “If there’s anything I can do, just let me know.” Well, let them know. they may not be able to do the actual task, but they can be by your side as you do it. Sometimes it helps to have someone there, gently persuading you to pick up the phone or write one more thank you note. Let those kind people know you need quiet, not chatter. Chatter is exhausting.

As far as the beehive in front of your face, the key is to journal, make lists, or share with someone who will give you time (more than five minutes, if you please), to vent or complain or share a memory. It’s important to allow the beehive to be released—to move it from your head to your heart. When you share with someone you trust, that person should validate your pain, not try to fix it.

For sleeplessness, try homeopathic remedies first, since prescription medications are often addictive. But please work on this issue, as sleep is essential for your healing process.

Posted on July 13, 2016 and filed under Grief, healthy grieving.

Two essential ingredients to healthy healing

Deep grief hurts so much. It hurts in the heart, in the head, in aching muscles, and even in your throat, which is often where we hold our grief. There are numerous ways to heal in a healthy way but for today, I’ll tell you two essential elements: sleep and gratitude.

A good night’s rest is very often elusive when one is grieving, however it is the very thing necessary for the healing process. Without sleep, your mind functions poorly, and on top of your grief you probably have many decisions to make and tasks to accomplish during this difficult time of bereavement. While prescription medications can help, they can also be addictive and cause problems farther down the road. I suggest trying natural or alternative medication first. One site I recommend that is full of good ideas is InsomniaLand, or seek advice from Dr. Andrew Weil.

Finding something, anything to be grateful for is also essential. I say this because those who cannot find anything to be thankful for in the midst of deepest grief are those who become and often stay bitter. The support of friends or family, or kind gestures from acquaintances or strangers, are all things to be grateful for during the grieving process. Gratitude opens your heart, even if it’s only a tiny crack. Seeds of gratitude allow for the bloom of recovery after loss.

Posted on April 18, 2016 and filed under Grief.

A way to honor your loved one

Many of my clients find comfort during bereavement in setting up a simple yet meaningful altar. Altars don’t have to be complicated structures, or take up a lot of space—a few framed photos, a candle, fresh flowers, or small mementos that represent something meaningful. The ritual of lighting a candle, maintaining flowers, and simply spending time tending the altar is a way to honor a loved one, and also mark time along the grief journey. One of my clients gathers up the fallen petals and at the end of the month makes a ritual of throwing them off the pier.

Altars can be especially important if you don’t have a gravesite to visit. They can provide a fixed location to visit when you want to remember your loved one, or a way of honoring them and the memories you shared.

The purpose of an altar is to provide comfort while you’re grieving, as and when you need it. If you miss a day lighting the candle, or if the flower petals fall before you replace them, then so be it. Constructing an altar is not about guilt or more guilt. It is a simple way of honoring your loved one.

Initially, you will probably pay careful attention to the altar. Inevitably, as time passes, you may find yourself skipping a day or two. This is normal and completely okay, and marks a healthy healing path. It doesn’t mean you are forgetting your loved one, nor that you love them less. It means life goes on, and you’ve taken another step towards recovery.

Posted on April 18, 2016 and filed under Grief.