Today’s post is about grief, but I hope in a healing way. Holidays and celebrations are hard, the TV is flooded with pictures of happy families doing happy things, but when your own life looks a lot different to that, it doesn’t make for easy viewing. I have also found myself having to fight very hard to be happy for other people and not at times almost hate them for having family, or partners around them; loving, wanting and needing them when I am so alone. Its just the way it is, but its a bitter pill to try to swallow each holiday, you feel obliged to be happy and jolly when your heart is breaking and your soul is screaming in pain.
Its been seventeen months since my beloved husband passed away. Every day its a new challenge, trying to find ways to make life just a little softer. There is no quick fix, no easy way out, its evolution and that takes time and pain to evolve into the new life you find yourself in.
Recently I bought a book called Art Saves by Jenny Doh. This was a creative treat to myself, uplifting tales of how art and creating things helped ease people through difficult times in their lives. I’m still in the stage of grief where I am fighting the reality and still grasping for any book or inspiration for ways of making life less painful.
In this book I came across Susannah Conway, her story resonated with me as she lost her other half suddenly to a heart attack, she too didn’t have time to say goodbye to the man she loved. Different circumstances, but I knew how painful that is. I went to her website and bought her own book This I know. Its a wonderful book and I’ll link to it at the end of this piece. She also has a really nice website which has online courses which sound so healing. I really recognize her comment about feeling like you are in a glass box, alone in your grief and the world is outside of that box, in a totally different reality.
Last night I was on Twitter, (as you do). I’d started to follow Megan Devine, she is another person who has a healing website and she linked to a wonderful site called Dear Dougy; Conversations about Grief and Loss, its about helping people through grief, that site interviewed Megan. Now pod cast 34 was about Doing things you never thought you would do. On Twitter it was billed as Dating After Death. Now I’m SOOOOOOO not on that page, but still grasping for any tips for ways through my pain I followed the link.
Please please if you are grieving and have been hurt by insensitive things those around you have said, in the name of kindness, do listen to the podcast ‘The thing I never thought I’d do again’. Yes later in the conversation they discuss dating but in a gentle healing way. Their conversation about how to deal with the things people say to you is VERY very helpful and healing.
Since my loss, my BS detector is much more sensitive, I am more sensitive. The only way I’ve found, to deal with the things others say to you, is to try not to listen too much. Turn down the volume on what they say and file it under ‘NOISE’. Most of what people say is noise, to fill what might otherwise be an awkward silence. Not all noise is helpful, useful or kind. What people DO is what is important, everything else, for the most part, is indeed noise.
Since my loss, the people I used to know before it, have fallen into two camps; those that avoid me like bereavement is contagious and that if they spoke to me I’d fall in a heap on the floor and they’d be obliged to deal with that, and those who care enough to try but because they haven’t been through it, can sometimes say things that HURT.
However unintentional the hurtful comment is, it feels like being cut with a knife. In the early days, I had no defense, and would just fall apart, in that ball of tears. It would often take several days at best to get over what was said. Some things still hurt me deeply from back then even now, I try not to think of them.
My current defense to it, is to label what others say as ‘Noise’ and try not to engage with it, too much. Its so hard when you are in so much pain and when people have said ‘Just say if you need anything’ or words to that effect, but when you take them up on that you can see the look of horror on their faces, as if to say; ‘Its just something you say, you aren’t actually meant to take me up on that’. You really find out who your true friends are at times like this.
I am trying very hard to do the Mindfulness things of ‘compassion and love’. We’ve all tried to say something kind to someone, and then wanted the ground to open up, when we realize what we said to them hasn’t been received as we intended. Try to hold on to the fact that like Megan said; ‘What people say, is from their own fears and insecurity’s and actually has nothing whatever to do with your own situation.’
My husbands niece says before you speak, ask yourself this; ‘Is it kind, is it necessary, is it true’. These are wise words, sometimes there is little point trying to explain your situation to those who don’t understand and don’t want to know. Its hard, very hard but it is true. When we are so vulnerable, so tired and just getting through the day takes pretty much all we have, then don’t engage with those who don’t get where you are coming from. Save your energy for battles you have a chance at winning.
I hope this post hasn’t been too bleak, I’m feeling pretty bleak but that’s the page I’m on. I want to share with your peace, light, love, hope and compassion so here are some links to things that have been healing for me and I hope can help you find some breaks in the dark clouds of grief.
- Susannah Conway
- Susannah Conway; This I know (book)
- Megan Devine: Refuge in Grief
- Dear Dougy: Conversations about grief and loss. E034 Things I’d never thought I’d do again
Tomorrow I will share my poem Broken Biscuits. I wrote it about living with mental health problems but a lot of it is also true for grief. I hope it will help you be more gentle with yourself, even if those around you can’t understand the page you are on right now.
Sending you peace, light, compassion and hope.
See you soon