I have grieved, felt lost and alone, anxious, depressed… deeply sad.
I have been in dark places feeling like the light would never shine again. But I have also laughed, loved, felt extreme joy and happiness that took my breath away. And I have no doubt I will feel it all again.
Because life is like that; unpredictable, turbulent and yet so wonderful.
Here’s the hard truth; Grief shows no mercy. It arrives unannounced, uninvited. It does not care what else you are going through. It does not care if you’ve had enough. But if we prepare as best as we can before grief arrives, we can navigate through the acute phase, knowing the pain will dull. We cannot avoid grief, it’s the only road to healing, but we can avoid excessive suffering. Why should we bother? Because grief is coming. Grief is part of living and we grieve our whole lives; friends or children leaving, job loss, divorce, etc.
Grief is sometimes the price of Living and Loving. But it’s worth it.
And your heart will heal if you take good care of it. And you never know what awaits, on the other side of grief. You can feel joy again, I promise!
Easier said than done? Yes, most of this is.
But don’t we stand a much better chance of moving through our pain, if we know it’s coming,
instead of pretending it never will?
I’ve taken a good look at how I grieve; I get chest pain, irregular heartbeats,
sometimes I feel like I can’t breathe. Knowing this, I sit with it, tell myself I will be OK and take slow deep breaths. I will need a good cry and am usually a hot mess. I take things slow, one step at a time and frequently ask myself; “What do I need or want right now?”
And then I do that. I make self-care a top priority.
Knowing that it’s hard for me to think or to remember “the good stuff” I have created a self-care toolbox. When sadness and grief take over, I dive in.
(Geordie and the kids each have their own self-care toolbox also).
A Few Items in my Self-Care Toolbox:
- names and numbers of loved ones who will support me
- soft tissue for a really good cry
- names of movies that will make me laugh or cry, whatever I need.
- trinkets from family, friends, patients…to remind me that I am loved.
- pictures of wonderful times in my life.
- my Grandmother’s shawl, who died in 2007. It reminds me that we stay connected.
- a branch to remind myself to go outside, and let nature heal me!
What does grief look like for you?
What would you put in your self-care toolbox??
Yvonne Heath is a Canadian leader, Inspirational Speaker, Blogger, Television Host, Author and Creator of the #IJustShowedUp campaign.