I have been seeing and reading about so many deaths and losses over this past week. When I hear about an individual losing someone close to them my heart aches for them. They say grief is the result of deep love and I believe this wholeheartedly. I have had a lot of loss in my life. All three of my siblings, each much too young when they passed and my parents. Nine years ago my mom passed at the age of 95 and five weeks later my brother Mitch passed from the effects of a tough cancer journey, he was 52. When Mitch died someone said to me, “Your heart must be broken.” My heart was not broken, it was shattered. I had just lost the last family member who I came into this life with, I was the youngest child, and I believed and looked forward to us growing old together.
I have discovered that grief is an individual journey. As I began to love myself, after I almost lost my life to cancer, I discovered how to turn my grief into peace and appreciation. It doesn’t mean I do not miss each person that I have lost, it merely means I have found peace with them no longer walking this earth with me. Today I am at peace with all the beautiful people I was so blessed to have in my life. I know they are not gone and I feel their presence frequently, my angels in heaven looking out and protecting me, my children and my grandbabies. And even more beautiful, are the gifts I have been given since each one of them passed. If you have lost someone recently or at any time in your life I have a few suggestions that have come out of my journey:
GRIEVE AT YOUR OWN PACE – Plus do what feels right during your grief journey. It is definitely not a race to how fast you will feel better and be able to move on. We all grieve in a different way and at our own pace.
DO NOT STUFF YOUR FEELINGS – Cry, get angry, sad, depressed, pissed off at the world! Feel all the feelings and do not try to stuff them. I stuffed the majority of my feelings after my brother Mitch passed. Three years later I was diagnosed with cancer that came back three times and almost took my life. Now as I am cancer free and helping individuals with cancer as we dive into their past and the negative emotions they are carrying it always comes forward that they have either lost someone or gone through a tremendous amount of stress some years prior to the diagnosis. All of them stuffed their feelings and pretended everything was OK.
GET HELP IF YOU CAN’T MOVE ON – There is nothing wrong or weak about getting help when things feel overwhelming. I tell individuals this all the time, deal with the emotions before the emotions deal with your body and cause chronic disease. Sometimes dealing with your emotions requires some help from a professional or a coach who can help. There are many loving souls out there who have either gone through a similar journey or have great compassion and want to help.
CONNECT WITH A HIGHER SOURCE – You do not have to be religious to do this just a person who believes there is a higher source. Connect and experience the love and acceptance your higher source has for you. Then turn that love and acceptance inward to loving and accepting you! No judgments, just love. I do most of my connection through meditation and prayer. And when I pray I ask for guidance and let go of the wheel.
FEEL APPRECIATION – At some point when all the harsh feelings are out of the way and you have given yourself the time to grieve please begin to appreciate the time this person(s) was in your life and the gifts they gave to you. It may be right away or it may take some time. When I think about my brother Mitch I appreciate how kind he was. He always loved and protected me when we were kids. He was kind his entire life and I have taken the beautiful quality of kindness into my own life as I grow and expand.
Death is part of life. Grief is part of loving deeply. Appreciation and peace is the road to loving self and acceptance.