Grief is a state that many, if not all, of us will experience at some point in our life. It can be easy to spiral into a dark place and feel trapped by our feelings of loss, and it can seem like things will never get better, or that joy can’t be possible once an important figure in our life has left us.
I’d like to thank Andrea Mondoux from Balance Bliss for sharing her story and how she is managing to deal with the passing of her grandfather. You can read more from Andrea at www.balancebliss.blog and check out her instagram @balanceblissblog
Losing something is terrible. There’s no easy way to put it. You are left feeling empty, different, changed, sad and hopeless. Both people and relationships are things that mean so much to us and are at the core of what makes us who we are, so when we lose one of those things- though death or the breakdown of a marriage or close relationship- we are left with all of these feelings. How do you cope...?
I recently lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s Disease. Over the last 2 years we had to watch the man who we all knew and loved have his mind taken over by this awful disease. Near the end of his life, he was not the same man I knew growing up, and it was obvious that he was suffering. Often being confused and delusional about his surroundings made it very difficult for him to have any enjoyment in life. For these reasons, in a small way it was a relief to us when he passed away in his sleep. The logical part of us all knew that he was in a better place than where he had been and he was finally at peace from the turmoil that was his everyday. I am not going to sit here however and say that made it any easier. The grief… was overwhelming and consuming. Losing someone you love is like a small light in your heart has been shut off and you feel like it will never turn on again. And it may never, but you must learn to move forward with living and find the strength to carry on. We all do.
Grief is just love with no place to go, you feel it deep in your heart. And it aches.
So how do you find the strength to carry on? You do not choose the things that happen to you, but you are responsible for how you respond to them.
First, let yourself feel it. It will be painful, and it will be hard, but you need to feel it to move forward. By pushing it down, ignoring it and just trying to move on right away, it can have some very physical effects on your body in the same ways that stress can. Our emotions, if ignored manifest themselves as physical symptoms. So, feel the pain. Cry. Please cry. Ugly cry if you must. I did. Though it pains you in the moment, there is something relieving and calming about how you feel after a good cry.
Hold onto the happy memories. It’s ok to laugh while you are grieving. Don’t stop yourself from thinking about all the good times that you shared. Those memories are what created that love so great. My grandfather was the type of man who cared about making sure everyone was ok around him. He would often ‘pep talk’ us as kids, reminding us we needed to be good people, to listen to our parents and always think of others. He also was horrible at looking at the camera when we tried to take a photo of him. He was too busy looking the other way or laughing at something else. We would spend forever trying to get him to look. I still chuckle to myself thinking about that.
Do things that make you smile. Spending too much time alone is not good for me when I am feeling a loss. The distraction of friends, family and hobbies should be welcomed as part of moving forward and getting back to what is the new normal.
Spend time outdoors. Nature and fresh air are healing. There is so much beauty in the world, you should get yourself out there to be apart of it. Take a walk through a forested trail or field, wander around the city you live in. Walking is a form of exercise, and releases endorphins (that feel-good feeling) and will leave you feeling refreshed.
I don’t want to sit here and tell you that grief is easy to work through. It’s important to both not let it consume you, but to also feel it. You are only dealt things that the universe knows that you can deal with. So with the strength within you and the support around you, take it on.
“Grief is like the ocean, it comes in waves ebbing and flowing. Sometimes the water is calm, and sometimes it is overwhelming. All we can do is learn to swim.”