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Saying goodbye – what I’ve learnt

So, the messages I’d like to share from this experience are:

  • This time of lockdown has given us a whole new appreciation of connection.  I encourage you to never take this for granted and to be grateful for all those who bring light and joy into your life.
  • Remember to treasure the time you have with your loved ones, and if you know this time is short, use it as an opportunity to say the things you want to say, such as how much you love them, how much they mean to you, and how wonderful it has been to have them in your life.  Treasure the happy memories and focus on these as much as you can.
  • This could also be an opportunity for them to talk about any worries or fears they might have, and to plan ahead for their funeral and any other preparations they might want to make. This isn’t as morbid as it sounds and can help you both to support each other and to release any anxieties.
  • If you’re experiencing grief right now, be gentle with yourself.  As much as you can, allow yourself to be with your feelings, without resisting them.  By all means use healthy distractions when you need to take a break – I found that getting outdoors, walking and watching light movies or box-sets on TV helped me – but try not to bottle up your feelings.  If you’re worried about upsetting family or friends, then see if you can find someone else to talk to, or journal as a way of letting your feelings out. If you’re more of a visual person, try drawing, painting or some other form of art, and if you’re more kinesthetic, you might find that movement helps.  E-motions are energy-in-motion and need to flow in order for us to process them and not become stuck.
  • Remember that we are social beings. I’m someone who values time alone, and yet I know that too much of it, particularly when I’m sad, isn’t good for me. During this grieving process I needed to find a balance between having space for myself to process my feelings and connecting with friends and family. Sharing stories about Kali, talking about other things, crying together or saying nothing and just feeling the presence of another person, were all grounding and centering for me.
  • Let go of expectations on how you ‘should’ feel and know that this is a process.  Also, it is often non-linear, meaning that you might find yourself revisiting feelings that you thought you’d moved on from.  It doesn’t mean you’re going backwards.  It’s just that another layer has come to the surface to be processed.
  • Be patient with yourself and don’t feel that you have to make any decisions until you are ready – for example what to do with their things or making big life changes.
  • We are all individuals and we each experience grief in our own unique way.  Common experiences can include examples such as physical pain – I experienced migraines and aching joints – nausea, forgetfulness, insomnia, irritability, loss of appetite, comfort eating and lack of concentration.
  • If you’ve lost an animal – or if your loss is one that you sense might be less ‘acceptable’ in some way – please don’t feel that you need to face it alone.  Chances are there are others who will have been through a similar grief and who will be able to listen supportively.
  • Find a form of self-care that works for you.  Make sure you get plenty of rest and stay well hydrated.  You might also like to look into Bach Flower Remedies – I’m taking Star of Bethlehem, homeopathy and / or essential oils, some of which can help with processing of emotions and releasing grief.

If you’re currently experiencing any form of bereavement and you’d like to talk, I invite you to get in touch:

You might also be interested in the Love and Loss group that I co-host with my wonderful friend Jane Greyer of Create Ceremonies.  This takes place on the second Thursday of every month from 5.30 – 7.30pm and is currently being run online while lockdown is in place.  To find out more you can request to join the private Facebook group.

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