When we experience loss we tend to become internally disoriented. That internal disorientation comes to us in the form of sadness + anger + misery + regret + trepidation + (because we’re often hoping that the person that we lost could come back…) wishfulness.
We’re often affected physically as well, which is where those things like losing your appetite (or having it increase ), being unable to sleep or feel rested, and having an overall sense of discomfort + uneasiness takes over. I’ve learned that these are all normal responses to the process of grieving.
Having to bear the weight of, (what at the time seems like), almost unimaginable tasks such as adjusting to a new relationship with with the person that you have lost + trying to fully understand the loss + trying to develop a whole new way of being in the world after the loss adds to the burden and oftentimes we are not prepared to manage all that has been placed before us.
Yet, finding a way, (or ways), to adjust to our loss can help keep the pain from consuming us.
Learning to adjust is necessary because life is going to keep revolving around you – and if you don’t find a way return to life you are going to have a very hard time with those internal and physical symptoms – making it much more difficult to heal and live your life.
Some of the things that have helped me return to myself include:
• Showing myself a little compassion by resting when I felt as though I needed to…and not feeling guilty about doing so.
• Asking for (or accepting) help from others when I needed it. This helped me feel less overwhelmed, but it also gave others the opportunity to feel good about helping someone through a rough time. It’s so important to not push these “beautiful” people away.
• Trying to laugh again without feeling as though I was dishonoring my lost loved one. Remembering that he wanted (wants) me to be happy. This helped me remember to keep looking for the joy in life and to not take it too seriously…to always remain open.
• Giving my loss meaning by focusing less on the fact that my loved one is no longer here…and more on how he positively impacted my life + that of others + keeping his legacy of loving life alive.
• I am a nature lover so getting out and enjoying the sights + sounds of nature was a given for me while on my healing journey. There are so many lessons in nature that can help with trying to understand + learning to appreciate loss of life. Nature tends to offer a neverending abundance of beautiful comparisons.
This list of mine is not exhaustive and as always we all have different methods that we can apply. These are a few that helped me through the early days when I was days + weeks into my loss. Please feel free to try any of them for yourself and if you do – let me know how it worked for you.
Until the next post.
Take care + Be well,
It was a very long night. I didn’t sleep at all that night. It was 6:14 a.m. on that early August morning that I took this photo as I sat in this room staring at the white walls and these deep green seats, waiting for someone to come and tell me that I could smile again. I kept thinking about how just twelve hours beforehand, my youngest child and I were enjoying one of his favorite meals, while conversating as we got our “little nerd fix“ while watching the show Battle Bots. Ten hours beforehand we had, unbeknownst to us, said our last real goodbyes right before I reminded him to drive safely as he opened the front door to leave to meet up with friends out of town. The moment that I took this photo I had enough hope for the world. However, evidently, some plans are much greater than our own wishes, hopes, dreams, efforts and prayers.
It often begins with shock. That initial feeling that sends shock waves and copious amounts of cortisol throughout your body, filling every part with enough stress to make your hands shake and your entire body quiver. Then the numbness seeps in ever so slowly. So slow, in fact, that you’re barely able to recognize that your body is being possessed by some strange form of extreme sadness; and for a minute you begin to wonder if you’re losing your mind.
You’re in disbelief. Yet, you somehow know that this may not end well, so you reach deep down inside your heart and gut and pull out as much strength, courage and hope for a happy end result as you possibly can – and even so – you still don’t feel as though that effort will be enough.
Now all that you feel is fear. You are still numb and outside of yourself, but the hurt that you feel is now becoming so overwhelming and all that your heart and mind are telling you is that you absolutely cannot lose this person. Suddenly, you start doubting that this is actually happening and hope that you are just having a really terrible dream. You can’t believe that this is even possible. How can it be possible? Nothing feels real at the moment.
You can’t seem to stop the tears from falling from your eyes and down your cheeks. Nor can you stop the ache in your chest. You’re antsy and you want to do something to help, but you are told repeatedly that there is nothing else that you can do. That they can do. That anyone can do. That doesn’t stop you though. Each day that you return to this place you keep asking and trying to find solutions. All you know is… this hurt likes like hell.
This was my experience and I cannot speak for all parents who have lost a child, but there is not doubt that when someone you love loses their life, so many feelings and emotions rush through your mind and you have to mourn the loss in order to help you process it. Mourning is essential to the healing process and there is no time frame that one can be expected to “get over” their loss. That is always personal. It is as personal as the relationship that you had with the person that you lost. This is why bereavement healing times tend to vary from person to person. Bereavement should not be rushed. So, the next time that you encounter someone who is grieving, show a little patience, kindness and be genuinely supportive because that is what is going to help that person overcome their grief in the healthiest way possible.
Until the next post.
Take care + Be well,
When you can’t get enough sunshine…create your own.
Can you feel it? It’s there in the air. The slightly cooler weather. The change in the way that the sun lights up a room? The yearning for comfort food. The cries for pumpkin spice everything. The Halloween and Thanksgiving decorations inside every store that you set foot in. Wanting to pull the covers up to your chin and press the snooze button on those early chilly mornings before you get out of bed.
Regardless of whether you call it Autumn or Fall… it’s here. That time of the year that makes us want to hibernate a little bit and spend more time indoors. As someone who enjoys both the outdoors and warm sunshine on my skin I am going to miss the warmer months and the opportunity to soak up vitamin D naturally.
Spending time in the sun, of course, has its pros and cons. We want to avoid exposing ourselves to too much sunlight as not to increase our chances of getting skin cancer — even with sunscreen. Yet, with sunlight being a natural and ideal way of getting vitamin D into our bodies to maintain our health, we also want to be able to reap that benefit.
During the spring and summer months our bodies produce vitamin D naturally when we spend at least ten to twenty minutes outside receiving ultraviolet B rays from the sun. Yet, during the fall and winter months most of us are less likely to be able to so, which means that we are often left to find others ways of ensuring that we are getting enough vitamin D and maintaining our health and nutrition.
We can do this by eating more vitamin D rich foods such as fortified milk, orange juice, cheese, eggs, mushrooms, or fatty-fish such as salmon, mackerel or sardines. For my vegan friends, tofu or fortified plant milks can be good sources of vitamin D. Just be sure to double check your labels. Furthermore, vitamin D supplements tend to be good options for those who may feel as though they are are not receiving enough vitamin D from their food sources. These are just some of the ways that I manage my vitamin D levels as a flexitarian. As always, it would also be a good idea to check with your physician or nutritionist to determine what your unique vitamin or nutritional needs might be.
I think we all know that vitamin D is important for our bone, nail, hair and teeth health, but did you know that it also plays a role in the human cell life cycle and helps regulate both immune and neuromuscular systems?
Potential Benefits of Vitamin D
- May aid depression or S.A.D (Seasonal Affective Disorder / Seasonal Depression).
- May decrease inflammation.
- May prevent bone loss or bone disease.
- May provide relief for some chronic conditions such as Crohn’s Disease, Arthritis or Multiple Sclerosis.
- May aid cognitive function.
A few signs of vitamin deficiency include hair loss, muscle pain, having wounds that heal slowly and fatigue. These are symptoms that could also, very easily, be associated with other conditions which is why you should seek professional medical help in the event that you experience any of these symptoms – especially if you are experiencing grief and assuming that your symptoms are solely related to stress from the loss that you have experienced. Deficiency in this vitamin is common and easy to remedy so don’t be afraid to get any of these symptoms checked out.
Until the next post.
Take Care + Be Well,
I recently came across this beautiful quote by Morgan Harper Nichols which says, “Tell the story of the mountain you climbed. Your words could become a page in someone else’s survival guide. ” I don’t think that there have ever been words spoken or written that have inspired me to act more than these words. After reading that quote I immediately knew that the time was right for me to start working on the blog that I had talked about starting for so long.
In the beginning my delay was due to fear. Fear of not attracting enough readers. Fear of adding more expense to my already stretched budget. Fear of not being able to dedicate enough time to writing. Fear of not being able to manage a blog, etc., etc., etc. My list of excuses was about as long as my arm, but deep down I knew what the real reason was. I was afraid of failing at something that I had my heart set on. My passion was there, but fear has a way of playing with your mind and making you feel as though things are a lot worse than they actually are.
I learned the hard way though. When one day I woke up and found myself with a real, true, viable reason for procrastinating – known as grief. Grief is difficult and it can be quite overwhelming as it affects your thinking ability and your energy level. It basically takes over every aspect of your life – especially if the person you lost was an immediate family member who lived with you.
I had no choice but to put my blogging plans back on the back burner, and this time it would be without a planned future starting date. There was another difference too. This time I didn’t feel guilty about not being able to start my blog. In fact, I didn’t care about it at all because my mind was so discombobulated and blogging just wasn’t on my priority list at the time. I had to heal. I had to take care of myself and my remaining family members. I had to find ways to honor and celebrate the life of my loved one and maintain his legacy.
Well, a year has passed and a lot has changed since then for me. I am glad that I didn’t chose to rush my healing, because you have to give yourself time to grow through what you go through and it is no different when you’re dealing with loss. For me healing meant taking care of myself mentally, physically and spiritually so that all parts of me could heal appropriately.
With each passing day I felt the fog begin to lift from my life. It’s still there, but now it feels lighter and more manageable thanks to my dedication to my own self care in which I allowed myself to feel my hurt and not avoid it. Learning to cope with grief is pivotal if you want to be able to withstand the triggers that will come along later.
So here I am today typing away at the keyboard. Thinking about that time I discussed starting a blog with my lost loved one over a year ago and hearing him reply, ” You should do it, Mom – When are you going to start it?” I hope that he can hear me today as I talk to him from this earthly plain, “I’m starting the blog today dear son – finally- today and in many ways, you are now my inspiration for doing so.
Thank you for taking the time to read my first post. If you are following me, I thank you for that as well and I hope that you enjoy my future posts.
Until the next post.
Take Care + Be Well,