” We come to know each other for reasons we are not yet aware, and we eventually lose each other; but gain compelling stories to share.”
Until the next post.
Take Care + Be Well
One of the things that happens to the bereaved right after losing someone is that we tend to seek out things that will help us fill our recent void. Our bodies begin to crave more rest, and a host of other things – one being great tasting foods. Grief often tends to cause our appetites to change; and while some will experience a loss of appetite, others may experience an increase in appetite as the need to gravitate towards foods that elicit a dopamine release from the brain cause us to feel all warm and fuzzy inside and completely comforted. This is all due to the stress that comes with grief, and just as with any other form of stress we may know of our own “go-to” foods that we find personally healing. In fact we can all probably conjure in our minds right this very moment, (I am sure), a dish or recipe that we know has the power to make us instantly happier at any given moment. For me it’s my Mom’s curried chicken recipe or just about anything with, garbanzo beans, dark leafy greens, avocado or Italian. Those foods always go straight to my soul and make everything better.
But, back to how grief either increases or decreases our appetite. In the days weeks and first few months after losing my son, I lost my appetite which resulted in my losing 12 lbs. Food was the farthest thing from my mind and I remember every time that I did eat, regardless of whether or not it was breakfast, lunch or dinner, I felt as though I was forcing myself to eat. I was forcing myself to eat, because I knew that eating something was the only way that I was going to have any energy to keep running back and forth to the hospital, plan a funeral service and take care of all of the lose ends and important tasks that must be taken care of after someone passes away.
Even though my appetite was not there I knew that I had to eat in order to stay somewhat healthy. Sadly, though, I found myself in a bit of a fast food whirlwind grabbing unhealthy, easy, non-nutritious foods to sustain myself which as you probably already guessed, left me feeling even more depleted.
Something had to change and I needed to find a way to get back to normalcy and start eating healthy again. So, I began by gradually increasing the days that I would cook healthy meals at home instead of eating out or grabbing fast food. Starting with two days a week at first, and eventually leading to making healthy home cooked meals 6 days a week – it took me 4 months to return to my usual healthy eating schedule.
One thing that made it easy to do was to cook in bulk so that we would have leftovers available, (either from the previous day or frozen), if something came up and I was unable to cook one day. Another trick that I used was to pre-make healthy juices, smoothies, vegetable and fruit plates, soups and salads and I kept them at hand so they were easy to grab from the refrigerator for a quick snack or lunch.
It is not uncommon for the grieved to receive food from friends and family after the funeral has passed, and this practice can be such a wonderful blessing when you are too emotionally and physically and weary to cook anything. I can’t stress enough how much helping the grieved in this way can mean the world anyone who has just lost someone. However, that is not something that we can rely on for the long haul.
Therefore, having and idea of how to implement a healthy meal plan and and what to include can be invaluable not just to the bereaved while adjusting to a new way of being, but it could also be helpful to anyone who might be feeling overworked, over stressed, just plain tired or for any reason.
During the spring and summer months we will usually feel satiated after eating just about anything light, but for a lot of people there is something about fall and winter that moves us toward craving comfort foods such as stews, hearty soups and casseroles. There is something about the cooler months that have us reaching for foods that warm our bodies as well as our hearts. The good thing is this, we don’t always have to abstain from enjoying those delicious comfort foods.
For example, one way to still eat them and avoid adding extra pounds, or eating unhealthy, is to change a recipe so that it becomes healthier, but still tastes great. This is what I did with my lasagne recipe when I stopped making it with meat and all of the extra, delicious, but unnecessary cheese. It is absolutely scrumptious! I will post a recipe for that lasagne this week in what will be Salubrity and Soul’s new recipe section, and it will also be posted on the Salubrity and Soul Instagram account.
If you have found yourself in the same unhealthy conundrum and feel the need to eat healthier after loss or just prefer eating a decent home meal try:
As you can see, there are several things that you can do to help ensure that you are eating as healthy as possible while dealing with loss, and I will have more tips and tricks for maintain your health while grieving in the coming weeks.
Until the next post,
Take care + be well,
The words “I’m Blessed” is a phrase that I have used quite often in the past to express the way that I feel about all of the good and wonderful things that I have received and accomplished in my life. There is no harm in celebrating the good that occurs in our lives…right? However, one has to ask, does that change if we become a bit too zealous in our efforts to celebrate ourselves and we begin dismissing the misfortune of others? Does it change if all of the good that we receive changes us – and not for the better?
I stopped saying “I’m Blessed” a few years ago when I began a volunteer position working with foster youths helping to ensure that they were receiving proper care with regard to their health and well-being in their prospective foster homes. Just hearing those two words at the time would make me cringe whenever I heard them coming from my mouth or from the mouths of others. All of a sudden that little special phase began to seem shallow to me, and I just didn’t feel comfortable using it anymore.
Another reason why I stopped saying it was because I began to notice that there are a lot of people who do not have a “typical” family structure or a “typical” shot at some of the opportunities that others have. Not to mention having the “good fortune” of celebrating the holidays with their loved ones in many instances. I also began thinking about those who had lost their homes and loved ones in recent storms and natural disasters. Once all of this began to infiltrate my mind – well, it was a given that I, personally, no longer felt comfortable using that phrase.
Once I really began to pay attention to how common these issues are, I realized how egotistical I must have sounded to give myself so much praise and attention when I really didn’t need it – any of it – because I have enough. More than enough, even with all of my own personal struggles and imperfections. I still have enough, and I don’t need to tell anyone about my blessings because we’re all blessed in one way or another. As a result, it became more important for me to just appreciate my blessings and be thankful for them in silence and with grace.
I think the word “blessed” can sometimes be taken out of context to go beyond simply meaning “to be fortunate” or “lucky” and is often instead referred to as being something “more than“, being “highly favored” and exalted by a higher power which is often the result of performing some spectacular act, or just being successful or having a perfect family, appearance or life.
Once I began practicing gratitude as a way of celebrating myself and all of the things that I am fortunate to have or have experienced in my life, everything changed. For one thing, I can honestly say that I am now a more humble and open person and someone who is always conscious of what others may be going through. Now I count my blessings instead of professing that I am blessed. You and I – well – we are all blessed just for being; and we shouldn’t feel any obligation of having to have had accomplished something to receive those blessings. Besides, blessings often run out, while gratitude is often the gift that keeps giving; no matter what the situation. Speaking of giving… I hope that you will join me by still celebrating yourself, (in whatever way you need and prefer to), but by also remembering to always make an effort to try to be a blessing for someone else whenever possible. Blessings to everyone!
Until the next post,
Take care + Be well,
Happy Holidays to you and yours! It has been several days since my last post. I decided to ring in the holidays on a much needed easy note, placing a majority of my focus and attention on maintaining holiday family rituals, creating new ones, spending time with my husband, my two remaining adult children, my precious grand kids and completing a Christmas donation project in honor of my “angel son”.
The last few weeks have been somewhat hectic, but I have learned to balance the hustle and bustle of the holiday season with equal amounts of “me time” as a way allowing myself to still enjoy the holiday season while also ensuring that I take care of myself first; so that I can also still be there for my family to celebrate the season with a joyful spirit.
This is the second holiday season without my youngest child and one of my greatest lessons of this past year has been learning to push past my feelings of hurt and remaining grateful for all that I still have in my life. With grief it’s easy to get caught up in a whirlwind of “loss”, which in most cases is inevitable and completely understandable. However, that is not a place to reside. Practicing gratitude has helped me remember all of good that I have in my life despite also having to live through the bad.
Luckily for me, I began my gratitude practice prior to my son’s death, and that is what I turned to and leaned on immediately after his death. I have to be completely honest though – there were many days where I felt as though there was nothing to be grateful for. Those days happen, but the funniest thing took place when I realized that those days occur. I learned to be grateful for those days. I learned to appreciate that reality, and doing so helped me heal and get through some of the most discouraging days I have ever encountered.
I know it might seem strange to be grateful for “not being able to find anything to be grateful for”, but what not having anything to be grateful for did for me was to allow me to be thankful for my bad days, my disadvantages, my sadness, and believe it or not – my grief. Yes, all of those uninspiring and less than perfect things were suddenly something to appreciate, because they helped to remind me that those things helped to make me a stronger and more resilient person. Furthermore, every time that I expressed gratitude for those things it made me appreciate the good in my life more. In a strange sort of way it made me see that everything in my life and everything that I experience is something to be grateful for because it either added something positive to my life, or allowed me to experience or (better yet) learn something new. Either way it is growth. Either way it is life. Either way it is beautiful.
The truth is – I may still wake up one day and feel out of sorts, but it’s okay. I still have a beautiful family. My “angel son” is still my son, I still have an abundance of wonderful family memories, I still have amazing supportive family and friends, I still live on a great big beautiful planet where seasons change and where I can enjoy nature and the outdoors. I am grateful for my followers and that you have taken the time to read my posts. I am grateful for the opportunity to follow you, learn more about you and read the posts that you have shared with me.
I’d like to close by saying that I hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and regardless of whether or not you have lost someone, my hope is that you were able to share beautiful moments with loved ones – moments that created memories to last a lifetime. The month of November is nearing its end, but our expressions of gratitude don’t have to. Let’s all try to remain grateful for what we have in our lives regularly and throughout the year. We all have so much to be thankful for – even when things might not seem to be so great. We just have to open our hearts, minds and eyes to see and appreciate all that surrounds us. Blessings to you all! xo
Until the next post…
Take care + Be well,
I know that you’re in there. I can sense it. Why do you diminish yourself? Can’t you see how luminous and exquisite you are? Like nebulae from an undiscovered galaxy.
Please don’t dim yourself. I want to experience your essence, so speak to me with uncommon explanations and words so true to you that when the words leave your mouth they drip from your lips like the juice from nectarous ripened fruit.
I want to breathe your reality and watch as your words float effortlessly from your soul to mine. I’m not going anywhere. I am listening. Now, show me who you really are.
– Carol C.M.
“They say that people are innately afraid of those who need them, they say that people are afraid of “clingyness”, afraid of attachment, afraid of being needed by another. But I beg to disagree. I believe that people when looking at someone who is needy of them, see themselves and see their own fears and they go away because they can’t handle those fears; it’s their own neediness that they’re afraid of! They’re afraid to want and to need because they’re afraid of loss and of losing, so when they see these things in another, that’s when they run away. Nobody is actually running away from other people; everybody is really running away from themselves!” – C. Joybell C.
The term attachment has been getting a lot of attention these days. I cannot recall exactly how many social media posts I have encountered that have stressed the new found acceptance for becoming detached to everything and everyone as a way of avoiding the chance of getting hurt or having to go through the terrible emotions that generally come over us when we lose something or someone.
“The beautiful thing about fear is, when you run to it, it runs away.”
– Robin Sharma
I get it. I understand how the emotionality that correlates with losing something that we like or love can hamper our ability to maintain our focus to get things done, and who wants to be in that type of predicament? When we slow down we are less productive, which in turn, often also means that we will be less accepted.
“Maybe life is about learning a better goodbye. Learning to let go of the one’s we love with nothing but love.” – JM Storm
The thing to remember is that attachment is in all of us. It is a part of us and a very human primal need. Without it, there is the potential to suffer worse than we would had we just succumbed to the attachment. To not want to bond well with something is probably okay; but to not want to bond well or genuinely connect with others is – well – a bit disturbing.
“And – was it really love if you didn’t feel that loss to the very core of your soul?” – Carol C.M.
Fear can protect us, but it can also cause us harm. There is a lot in life that we are not able to run away from, and should not run from if we want to truly experience life. I, for one, can honestly say that my acceptance of being attached to things has brought me as much happiness as it has brought me pain. My greatest lessons in life are those that were born out of immense love, my ability to accept moments of vulnerability, deep interest, passion and ultimately the loss of something or someone whether a relationship, parenthood, or an occupation or something else. I have loved and lost, but I have grown so much and that is what life is all about. Isn’t it? So be grateful for those moments that you realize that you have become attached to something, not fearful because that is just one more place where the beauty of life can be found. Leading you to a most substantial existence and life experience.
Until the next post
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Take care + be well,