GRIEF and the Holidays
This is the fourth Christmas that my husband and son and I will be celebrating without our beloved daughter /sister who died suddenly, unexpectedly in June 2013, three months before her twenty fourth birthday. I have grieved a lot and learned a lot since her passing. Thinking about it on this first day of December 2016 perhaps I can share some of my hard learned wisdom as we approach the third Christmas without her…
Sounds of the Holidays--- As an Auditory Sound Therapy expert, I know that different frequencies of sound elicit different moods, brain functions, emotions. It has been proven that certain frequencies can help increase motivation, be more productive, concentrate better, heal depression, relax, de stress to name a few.
In listening to the Christmas music that is penetrating the airways in malls and on the radio, I realized that the frequencies of the music and the lyrics can and do elicit melancholy , sweet memories, bringing up the past and what won’t be this holiday or ever again, experiences we can’t and won’t have… and …more sadness, lower mood and depression for those dealing with Grief. Perhaps try to limit the exposure to music that you do not find uplifting. Baroque Classical music of Mozart, Haydn, Vivaldi ,etc may be more supportive of your emotional state right now...
Beliefs---The should, wishes, wont’s that come to mind contribute to the already challenging time of grieving for a loved one. Our beliefs based on our upbringing, family, religious and cultural traditions, and our own subconscious decisions which are beliefs called vows, all contribute to a deepening of the challenge of experiencing peace from the physical separation from our loved ones through the death process. Grief has no rhyme or reason, is messy, powerful, unpredictable and does not follow a “step by step” process! It can be triggered by a sight, a song, a smell, a dandalion, or a type of candy bar ! AND it does not respect age, race or time of year!
Pay attention to what the mind is saying…It is commenting but, just as if someone else was talking to you, you have a choice to listen and take it to heart or not. And yes, this can be difficult just as it often is when a loved one or a good friend says something that hurts or saddens us. But the bottom line is we do have a choice about everything we feel and believe.This does not mean do a guilt trip or batter ourselves when we are having a very difficult time!
It is just an attempt day by day, moment by moment, (sometimes breath by breath) to recognize and honor our personal power and love ourself. Self parenting as best we can, just as we try our best to parent our children.
Healing---This process cannot be done alone. A very, very gentle peeling away of these beliefs will help heal that which compounds the grief experience, making it even more painful.
This is probably not your parents and grandparents way of grieving and is definitely not that written about by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler Ross. I strongly urge you to run from anyone who tries to intellectualize, label, or try to “put in a nice neat box” what you are going through! Even if they are Religious, Spiritual, New Thought Leaders or PhD. “Whatevers”!
Everyone’s grief experience is unique and all feelings and experiences, thoughts and beliefs have the right to be honored, recognized, heard, acknowledged.
There are things to do to help ourselves feel better. Nothing may work perfectly or all the time. What may soothe our body and or soul one time, may not work the next time. The key is to have as many tools/resources as possible, do your best to “be in the moment”, put one foot in front of the other and do what is right in front of you to do and BREATHE!
In addition to having a dynamic Grief Support Counselor who “walks the walk” and “walks the talk”, one of the most effective “tools” available is energy therapy and energy work. Going to a chiropractor, massage therapist, energy kinesiologist is very important and helpful to maintaining physical health and promoting mental and emotional health. Personal energy health exercises as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT), and energy exercises as those of Donna Eden can be life savers. Go for gentle walks, go running, or do yoga but listen to your body.
Listen to Sound Therapy music that promotes mental health and nourishes and heals the emotions and the brain. Take naps, read inspirational literature, write in a journal, talk to a picture of your loved one, watch comedies, AND cry, cry ,cry as often as you feel the need to! It has been proven that tears and crying adjusts the brain chemistry and has Healing Properties!
Holiday Traditions---Regarding the holiday "traditions" and expectations of yourself and others, do as little or as much as you really want to do! Even if this has never happened before!
I know what an absolute torment holiday shopping probably is for you right now!
Give a list to someone to shop for you, or give gift cards or create new gift giving traditions... May Not be easy but be gentle on yourself and give yourself a gift of "YOU come first"...
So consider a new tradition, but keep the treasured ones still...Set a place at the dinner table for your beloved one, make their special dish or treat if that feels good...Doing your best to feel good IS THE NAME OF THE GAME FOR YOU NOW!
This is a time to practice Radical Self Care and Radical Self Love. If you have never done this, then give yourself permission to do so NOW! Who knows, this may be “the blessing”, a “lesson learned” from the death of your loved one. I trust that they want this for you very much, and if anything, this would be their Holiday gifts to you!
I am here to support you in the specifics of how to support yourself emotionally, mentally and physically as you go through the grief process this Holiday Season and all year round!
Please feel free to call me at 856 220 6403 or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Abundant Blessings and Peace beyond all Human understanding be yours this Holiday Season and in the coming year!
Life Coach specializing in Grief, Addiction support, Family Life and Learning Disabilities