Hi from Lee,
Last week I wrote about having to confront the painful reality that my 14 year old Dog Angel’s body could no longer support her life. I told you about how we made the excruciating decision to assist her spirit’s departure from her body.
Angel’s departure was a devastating loss for us. She packed such a bright and loving light into that little body of hers and we truly loved her so much. She was an integral part of our daily life so her absence from our physical reality seems massive and unending, to the point where Clifton and I both got really sick. We’re getting better now, but I’m sure it was the grief that triggered the illness for us.
I have lost so many loved ones in my life, both people and fur babies, and have certainly had a great deal of grief to overcome. My husband was murdered on Christmas Eve many years ago, and I have lost both of my parents and many good friends. All of Clifton’s family is deceased, and I can’t even tell you the number of four-legged friends who have passed on. Each loss comes with grief, which is a universally challenging thing to deal with. As someone who has healed from a great deal of grief, I recommend you have some compassion for yourself while grieving your losses.
Our society tends to overlook the effects of grief on our ability to function in the world. Many people have the attitude that “it happened and it’s time to get on with your life.” However, because the loss of someone important is a profoundly painful experience, grief seems to permeate everything. Grief can make it hard to eat, sleep, or muster much interest in the world going on around you, and can affect your judgment and behaviors. It’s not unusual to feel agitated and exhausted at the same time, or to be fine one minute and then sob unexpectedly. Many people struggle with feelings of sorrow, despair, numbness, anger, guilt, irritability and anxiety, and experience a type of “funk” where you can’t focus, don’t have energy, and seem spacey or out of it.
Grief doesn’t have a time limit and often doesn’t make sense to your mind. You tell yourself that you should be ‘over it’ by now. Well-intentioned friends tell you the same. Your mental reasoning says that death is inevitable. You remind yourself that heaven is real and “they” are in a better place, but you still have to deal with that reality. Your emotions can be triggered by all kinds of things: a song, smell, time of day, or even a TV show, and it can be overwhelming.
I received solace from the wonderful people who reached out to me with cards, phone calls, flowers, books, and other gifts of compassion. I created a shrine with pictures of Angel and the cards, flowers and books I received, and lit some candles to remember her. I put her ashes and her favorite jacket on the table so I could touch her jacket, see her photos, and feel the love others had offered to me after her departure.
I share this information because at some point in our lives, we all have to deal with grief. Grief is as personal and individual as any other part of our lives. Death, divorce, or some other life-altering event (like loss of a job) can trigger intense, long-lasting emotions. Even losing something we love, like a treasured piece of jewelry, can trigger grief.
I want to share some tips that I’ve learned to help you deal with loss and overwhelming emotions. I’m not going to say I’ve mastered them all, but reminding myself of these things helps me heal.
- Accept. Your emotional reactions are real and are human. Feeling bad is a normal reaction to losing something or someone that had great meaning to you. Don’t force yourself to be or to feel differently – at least for the moment.
- Breathe. Be aware of your body’s reactions and help it overcome the lethargy. Deep breaths are calming and they allow your body to de-stress. Play your favorite music because it has been proven that song Lyrics help refocus your thoughts. Also, sway or dance with the music – movement is healing.
- Connect. Don’t seclude yourself. Grief and depression try to pull you aside and make you feel isolated. Call a loved one or dear friend and meet for lunch or coffee. Stay connected because isolation is not good for you right now. Give yourself a place where you can talk about your feelings. Your grief becomes lighter when you have someone to share it with.
- Distract. Purposely plan a get-together, dinner, or some other low-key event to help you through the lonely times (holidays, anniversaries, and other memory-triggering events).
- Enjoy… Find ways to add more enjoyment and fun into your life. Celebrate the life of the person or animal companion you lost.
- Join a Support Group if you feel it will help you deal with your grief. Support groups can be your acquaintances or other people who are in a similar situation. You can find them in your local community or online.
- Faith. Let this be a time to draw closer to your spiritual rituals and activity. Prayer and meditation strengthen your faith and reinforce your connection to your God source.
Finding comfort in little things is an essential key to coping with and overcoming a sense of loss and grief. You have lost a piece of your heart and the wound will scab over, but there will always be a scar.
The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by loss (or if you know someone who is) please remember that grief doesn’t have a time limit. The more you can nurture yourself, the faster you will heal. When someone you loves dies, you never quite get over it; you slowly learn to go on without them, always keeping them tucked safely in your heart.
Love and Light to you,
Author of Success is an Inside Job
P.S. For anyone who hasn’t noticed, I am a deeply spiritual being. The loss of my mother last year and a few other events pushed me to let go of old ways of living and embrace a more authentic me. In being true to myself, I’ve been working on a new venture that will be born soon, which will include a brand new free ezine called: Spiritual Power Tools for Profit and Purpose. In the next few weeks, I’ll give you the link to sign up. It is my intention to continue to teach the human potential tools you’re used to me sharing, but I also want to expand. In this new venture, I’ll share the Universal wisdom I have learned in my many years of study that will assist you to live a more authentic life, and will bring more peace and prosperity to yourself and those around you.