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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……..