Can grieving be approached consciously? I think it can.
We all know about the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Not everyone experiences all of the stages, and some experience these in different order. But where does the conscious decision fit in among these famous five?
I have been my own case study for the last eight months. My husband of 20 years suddenly died after emergency heart surgery. Only 41 years of age. Leaving me with three kids.
To say that my world was shattered would be saying nothing.
I knew that I had to grieve. I couldn’t hide this enormous loss. I had to go and grow through it.
At the same time I couldn’t just lay on the sofa and drink myself numb for months–I have a two-year-old, a seven-year-old, and a ten-year-old who need me more than ever.
Knowing how habits form, I knew that grief could become a habit if I didn’t do anything about it. So I made the decision then!
I had to do everything I could to feel better fast, while at the same time feeling my emotions and not burying them in my subconscious.
After numerous conversations with women who have suffered loss, I understood that not all grief is the same. The process of grief might be similar, but it’s experienced in different ways. There is a difference if you have lost a baby, a spouse, or a parent. Because of their role in your life, and your relationship with them.
I knew that I had to be there for my sons and for myself. I didn’t have the option to hide away from the world. Besides, I had to show my kids that it is ok to feel, to cry, to be sad.
To heal, you have to go with the waves of grief–feel the emotion and let it go. But not only that, you need to have a clear head and strong body. You need to treat your emotional wound, like you would a physical one.
Here is my recipe for grieving consciously:
- Make a decision.
- Turn to modern medicine – get medication to help you sleeping. I had to take pills to regulate hypertension and anxiety and natural energy booster because the lack of energy is real.
- Don’t hide anything from your children – don’t hide what happened, and don’t hide your emotions.
- Talk to as many people as possible, call or text doesn’t matter – it will help you get through the denial phase.
- Do some kind of workout every morning – You have no strength, no energy, so get that serotonin flowing. It doesn’t mean you have to go to the gym. Just a walk on a treadmill or yoga will energize you more and make you feel lighter and help with anger, depression, and numbness.
- Have somebody that checks in with you – a friend, join a grief circle, or find a grief coach or therapist. You need to keep talking about your current situation.
- Go outside daily – Again, it doesn’t have to be far. Just walk around your block. Fresh air and sunshine will make you feel lighter and good different.
- Have fun with your kids – Play a board game or a ball. Children are the best at living in the now. It’s
time to learn from them.
- Spiritual practice – Speak to a priest, a medium, a shaman. Someone who can help you understand the spiritual meaning of death.
- Be kind to yourself – Buy/do something nice for yourself.
- Be brave and ask for help.
- Don’t shy away from your emotions. If you need to cry – cry! Remember that waves of grief are good. They help you process your grief step by step.
It’s hard at the beginning, but it gets easier.
Look at me – it has been 8 months, I have accepted my loss. I feel good. I feel happy – without the guilt or “sting in my heart.” I’m living in the now and I’m building my new life. And when a wave of pain comes, I ride it and let go.
Don’t expect the time to heal your wounds. You have to heal them. So find a coach or turn to EFT (Emotion Freedom Technique) or IEMT (Integral Eye Movement Therapy), aromatherapy, or psychotherapy.
Help yourself to heal. You are here, and you deserve to be happy!