Grief is a process – not one emotion Part 3

No matter who you are, you need an outlet for your emotions in the grief process. There is no one size fits all method, but to get a release you must do something, even if it is acknowledging the feelings that arise.

For me, it seems expressing how I am feeling through writing and this blog is definitely helping. I can feel the anger in the first words I wrote and then I can begin to feel them soften. What I have also been aware of is my family’s grief and how much kids take on no matter how young they are.

I spoke at my Dads funeral whilst our daughter sat with her older cousin. A week after the funeral she spoke to me about my Dad teaching me how to ride a bike, something I mentioned in my speech. It blew my mind she heard every word I said. I know she could feel the emotions that day and the days prior and after of his passing. I have made the time to talk to her about death and encouraged her to let the tears flow when they come, explaining that it’s a positive thing to do this and it releases emotions from her body. Every now and then we will look at the stars and wait to see if there is a shooting one with the belief that is a sign from my Grandma & Dad. Children see things so clearly. She even told me very matter of factly that my Daddy would pass on her birthday and sure enough, he did.  When I told her late the next day that he had passed she said, “I told you so”. It brought tears to my eyes.

So where to next? If I’m out of the anger phase, next is depression, reflection and loneliness – that doesn’t sound appealing! I have been doing a lot of reflection and I see how you could get stuck in the depression and loneliness phase if you hadn’t addressed the anger or found the tools to do so.

Whenever you get angry, again you need to go back through the process and deal with things step by step. Acknowledge how you are feeling and know that its ok to feel that way, whether that be weeks, months or years later.

The loneliness has come and gone many times. The realisation that even though the forms of communication are many, most people are too busy with their own lives to take the time to see how you are feeling. Not everyone. I am very blessed to have a handful of friends who always check in. It’s important that you are there for yourself. Do things for yourself that you would like others to do for you. You can write to yourself, take yourself shopping, spoil yourself. Whatever makes you feel good, special and not alone.

Bottom line is that we need to start talking about grief and how situations make us feel without any judgement and know that its ok. There are plenty of organisations that offer help and many toll-free help lines if you just want to chat.

Its ok to feel. Be kind to yourself and allow time to heal.

Be there for you. Choose you:)

Singing 101 with Casey Echo-Phoenix – a review and so much more

Today I had the pleasure of attending a singing workshop at the Sherwood Queenstown. Not my usual course to occupy my Saturday afternoon but, I thought I would experiment outside my comfort zone.

This workshop was so much more than learning to sing. It was about accessing different sounds in your body and finding an inner strength to use that power.

I loved the fact that there was no judgement of the quality and tone of your voice from anyone in the room. The space that was held was one of support and comfort to try your sounds in whichever way you could.

I never knew how much there was to singing! I can feel the different muscles I used today. I found a place of power in my belly to access a voice long hidden. Does that mean you will hear me belting out tunes at a local bar or on youtube……hell no! I know my limits. I know this is not one of my gifts in life but I have a new found appreciation for a voice that has been trained and an enjoyment of singing that can be found in a simple sound or a single note.

Undoubtedly Casey, our teacher today, has a stunning voice that I could have listened to for the 2 hours and come away just as happy. She never once made it about her and her talent. A genuine love of teaching and creating that touched everyone in the room. A warm energy and smiles could be felt from start to finish.

These workshops are a beautiful example of community and giving everyday people of all ages and backgrounds the chance to learn something new or reawaken something lost. (QT Collective)

I realised this week that I have been playing it safe for some time. Keeping with what works, walking the same route every day, learning the same things. A way of keeping control of some sorts; strengthening the same neuro pathways over and over. By attending this workshop today I remembered the beauty of the unknown. The childlike wonder and firing new signals in my brain with every new piece of knowledge and practice.

What to try next:)

Grief is a process – not one emotion Part 2

I had heard of the grief process many years ago but never really looked into it. How many of you know about the grief process? How many of you have never heard of it?

I found some great resources on www.grief.com. Some people mention 7 steps while others 5.

  • SHOCK & DENIAL
  • PAIN & GUILT
  • ANGER & BARGAINING
  • DEPRESSION -REFLECTION, LONELINESS
  • BARGAINING
  • ACCEPTANCE & HOPE

I have realised that I am great at being there for someone else through every stage of the grief process but man I suck at doing it for myself. Here’s my chance to learn one of those repeating lessons in my life and finally conquer it!

The passing of anyone still comes as a shock even if their prognosis was made a year earlier. You can do your best to prepare but that feeling of loss is still the same. Now please take note if someone tells you that their loved one has died, don’t ask was this sudden or unexpected as to make the passing less tragic for a person that had been battling some disease for a period of time. If one more person would have asked that question I would have lost it. Instead the “I’m sorry for your loss” or “how are you doing” or “is there anything I can do for you right now to assist you in any way” would be much more comforting.

For me, there was no denial. I knew Dad was going and was surprised he made it for as long as he did. His fight for life was extraordinary and he left the tank empty when he departed.

The pain and the guilt came as I could not be there when he passed even though I knew we had said our goodbyes. Nothing left unsaid, no questions unanswered. We took comfort in the fact that our bond will remain and that we love and understand each other.

So really, the first 2 phases have been text book. But anger, that’s where I have come unstuck. I think this is where I have always struggled, not fully resolving my anger and bypassing to the next stage.

I started to feel angry at my Dad and I knew I had to dig deep. I feel really blessed to have had 2 Dads growing up. My biological Dad who I would spend most weekends with up to about the age of 10 and then my Stepfather who raised me from the age of 2. Two amazing men who taught and loved me so much. So why was I angry? I was Daddy’s little girl and when he remarried and the 4th child came along who was a girl, all of a sudden contact started to slow, visits were few and far between until there was a loss of contact for a period of a year or so. As a result, I have this belief that I can only ever love one child as this was how I felt growing up. I felt like he couldn’t love me anymore as he had a new daughter. Now I have never really looked into this or wondered why I feel the way I do but I guess this caused me deep pain (still no tears). Then all I feel is compassion for Dad. I understand the relationship he was in, he was likely depressed, the lymphoma would have been present but he ignored it for a long time and his wife probably had something to do with him not seeing his other kids. Now no anger, but I still don’t feel the release.

And by the way, I tried throwing stones as hard as I can, another failed attempt at releasing anger.

Maybe I’m angry at myself, but what for?

I have started to meditate consistently even if it is for 12 minutes a day. My body was caught in the stress response previously and I’m determined not to go back there.

Maybe this is just a prompt to address all my losses and see what comes up and what stages I bypassed?

Sometimes Anger fuels a fire, maybe that’s my passion. Maybe my anger will fuel my passion to put myself out there again. Since my last event in April, I have pulled back on my practice and cancelled an event to regain my balance. I don’t believe in giving my energy to people when I am not in the best possible space myself. It’s hard to get back on the horse. You start questioning everything you do, what direction you are going in. I’m getting there……slowly, very slowly. I am blessed with an amazing husband who has supported me through everything. My rock, my warrior.

I am thankful that I have this opportunity to really grieve and work through my pain. A recent knee injury is forcing me to take a break from work and limits my exercise and movement. The universes way of getting me to be still, both mind and body:)

 

 

Grief is a process – not one emotion Part 1

Throughout my life and all the losses I have experienced, this is the first time I have looked deeply into the grief process and addressing where I’m at. This is an honest, raw expression of my pain and an essential part of my healing and regaining balance.

My Grandmother died in April and my Dad passed one month ago. Somehow I feel that by losing them both, part of myself has also passed. Will this instigate a new and improved Chenin? Time will tell.

Greif has been in the forefront of my mind since I started my new venture through Energy & Holistic medicine. It’s what I know and what I have been good at helping others with. Not just with the death of a loved one, but the loss of pets, relationships, a job or lifestyle. Greif like cancer doesn’t discriminate but it can make you hate; yourself that is and what follows is not always pretty and can lead to a lifetime of unhappiness and illness if not supported and nurtured.

The day before my Dad passed I was already in the anger phase (part 2 will take a closer look at these phases). I knew he would pass the next day (some people just know) so I was feeling intense sadness and anger towards everything and everyone around me. It didn’t help that I had a full house and that people were demanding my attention and complaining about their lives. Everything was pushing my buttons and that’s what anger does…. It piles up, up and up until you explode. Is it personal….no. It doesn’t matter what, who or where …you’re a ticking time bomb. What I realised though, people who truly love you, who oooozzzzzz love, don’t take it personally, don’t make it about them, don’t try to hug it out and tell you everything will be ok. They hold the space for you with such deep compassion for your loss and empathise with your pain and suffering and just let you be. Whether that means giving you space; talking about it or not talking about it. No comparisons, no judgment.

Dad was first diagnosed with Lymphoma in 2000 at the age of 50. He never smoked, never drunk and maintained a healthy weight. He went through Chemo and went into remission. I felt for him but never did I think I would lose him then and it wasn’t until 18 years later that the cancer came back in full force, eventually ending his life at age 68, on the day of our daughters 5th birthday.

Am I hurting……without a doubt, yes. But in a way, I didn’t expect. I’m angry. Not just a little bit, a lot-a-bit. At what? That’s what I’m in the process of working out. I’m stuck in this part of the grief process not knowing which way is up and which way is down. Grief really does mess with your mind. I really want to cry but the tears won’t come. They start and then I’m like “is that It”?

At first, I was angry at all the people I have been there for through their passing of a loved one and tough times in their lives. Dropping everything to be by their side and being their emotional sound-board for months on end. But who is here for me? I know I push people away because I can’t deal with people telling me “I know I you feel” You know what, you don’t. Nobody knows how another feels when they lose someone as you don’t know of their connection, their bond, their love for the other person. You can empathise or have compassion but the only person who knows how they are feeling is themselves. Then there are the people that you tell about your Dads passing and they start complaining about something minimal in their life which trumps your loss, so you stop telling people.

So me being me, I know I can keep going round in circles with these thoughts or I can change the way I’m feeling and think of those who have been there, those who contributed to the cost of getting to and from the funeral, those who have listened to how I’m feeling, those that send me texts and cards just to let me know they are thinking of me….the people that get me and truly care.

Then anger steps in again….my own mother hasn’t asked how I’m feeling or checked in to see how I’m doing. A sibling that says this loss brings us closer together is busy thinking about how they will benefit with Dads passing and then I get angry, now with Dad…..still no tears.

And bullshit to hitting pillows and screaming, all that does is make me look like a dick and feel uncomfortable. I have to find the source of my anger. I’m close……..

Collaboration or Competition?

It amazes me at nearly 40 that competition is rife among women. All my life I have had people try to bring me down just because I was good at something or successful in my area of work. I really don’t need anyone else trying to sabotage my success as I do a pretty good job of that myself😊

I am someone who has always been content with second place or being the one to help others shine, hiding behind the scenes and the success of others and their businesses. I started to think….why is this? And for me it comes down to one thing….being truly happy & humble in my own skin. No need for jealousy or competition only my own competitiveness and personal expectations.

That’s why when I love collaborating with other women. I recognise my own strengths and I recognise and admire theirs. Bringing a group of women together from a range of modalities shows people that we see them as individuals and no one size fits all; working together all to achieve a common goal.

Holistic health & healing practices are changing the shape and view of how we see ourselves and others. Today there are hundreds of modalities that are available to everyone🦋

I believe that jealousy and competitiveness is something that you are longing for within yourself. We have all been given a face/body/skills/gifts/personalities that we have to learn to love. Gratitude is one way to achieve this.

Love & give to yourself and start to see the world through different eyes. No more competition or jealousy, but admiration & inspiration

A few strands of hair saved my sanity

When our daughter was around 10 weeks old I had to ring the ambulance for the first time as her breathing had changed. The second time she was visibly in distress and using all her accessory muscles to breathe. A very scary sight for any parent. There were no answers for the stridor (inflammation of the airway), possible explanations that could only be identified through invasive tests. I knew in my heart it was something that I was eating that was causing these episodes as she was solely breast fed at this stage…I will leave the guilt story for another time. I cut out foods and was on constant alert waiting for the next reaction and there were several. Skin prick tests identified nothing and it was then at the age of around 6 months old that I discovered Allergenics and hair analysis. They only thing they needed to test was a small amount of hair and I had a baby who already had pigtailsJ

The result – high levels of candida and a list of food intolerances. A change of diet on my behalf and a probiotic to treat the candida and to this day our girl is thriving.

Not only did this identify the problem but it saved my sanity. Any parent with a child who has intolerances or allergies knows the stress that goes along with meal times, food planning or eating away from home.

Unfortunately, Allergenics couldn’t be a part of our event but have kindly contributed to our goodie bags.

One of the reasons I created the Health, Healing & Happiness Event is to inform people of the options that are available out there.

For more information please Visit @Allergenics or www.allergenics.com

The challenges of raising an Empathetic child:)

So this post is going to be a bit more personal….maybe even a little bit of a vent!

My daughter had a nightmare on Wednesday night. We have had a few over the years, night terrors under 2 consistently. She woke sweating and terrified but wouldn’t/couldn’t tell me what was wrong. She wanted to go to the couch to sleep and even the change of room left her scared to close her eyes in case she had the same dream:(

When she got home the next day I was determined to find out what the dream was about so I could try and help her understand it. She told me that the red wolf was eating her! On Wednesday at Kindy she was shown a mindfulness clip about a red and blue wolf…the red one being the angry one.

I spoke to her teachers today who were very understanding. As I spoke to them I was reminded that and this will be an on-going challenge of being a parent to an empathic child.

I have realised that this is just going to be a taste of when she goes to school in 6 months and she will then be subjected to behavior, words, and actions that I have protected her from up to this point in her life. It makes me sad and even a bit angry, but that’s life.

I guess that’s when I have to trust that we as parents have done enough for her to make her own choices, stand up for herself when she needs to and not be led by the majority.

Every age of raising a child has its challenges; this is just another one of them.

My biggest lesson here…..open 2 way communication. As long as our daughter always feels that she can talk to us, then she can feel and release her emotions…..something her Mummy always struggled with as a child.

Hope that wasn’t too heavy for a Friday night!!

Happy weekend:)

P.S. I LOVE YOU

I met with a friend on Friday who reminded me of how important it is not to shy away from my gifts and who I can help in the process. It was the kick in the bum I needed to get me out of “safe zone” and start to share a bit more of my story.

My life has been surrounded by grief from the young age of 11 when I lost my best friend to cancer. I have experienced grief in all its forms, not just the physical loss of someone or something. It is through my experiences that I have developed the unique ability to hold the space for someone to work through their grief…..to feel what needs to be felt while feeling supported, loved and safe.

Grief doesn’t discriminate and can make us question everything there is about our being and our purpose. For 25 years I have been searching and trying to make sense of my grief, being open to anything and everything that fuelled my thirst for knowledge to try and understand this crazy world.

Grief has no timeframe. It is an individual process and when we hide what it is we are truly feeling, it can show up in your life in ways such as repeated patterns of bad relationships, poor career choice, procrastination, people pleasing and always questioning why me?

My message is not going to give you a magic cure, quick fix mediation or 7 step plan to heal your grief. Like I said, it took 25 years to sort my shit out. What I want you to do is just acknowledge it for what it is. Ask yourself, what is it that I really need right now to nourish me, not because that’s what I think people want me to do or what is expected, but what I truly need. Maybe it means to cry, read a self-help book, eat a bar of chocolate (King Size) or just sit in silence. No right or wrong here, just a personal process.

What people need to be able to do is talk openly about their feelings without judgement. It is in my experience that people want and need to talk about it, that is part of the healing process. Closing off or hiding emotions will only provide temporary relief, if that and a sure way of fueling anxiety and depression. Let’s celebrate those who have past and share our experiences. This way, others can take comfort in the fact that they are not alone with how they are feeling and dive deeper into their personal beliefs not those that we have been conditioned with.

There’s so much judgement on what we should grieve over. I can tell you that one of my biggest losses was my cat! I grieved for that cat more than most people that have passed. Call me the crazy cat lady but the connection was so strong and when she died part of me went with her. It’s not about the “what” or the “who” but that connection that is no longer there in a physical sense that causes us pain.

The fact is, at some point in our lives we will experience grief or are still experiencing it and don’t know how to move forward. Allow yourself to feel, express your emotions and love all those around you…that includes yourself! Tell people you love them, even your friends. You could be pleasantly surprised by their reaction. Just be you and show yourself as much compassion and love that you do so easily for others:)