Grief hits in waves. It doesn’t look the same for everyone and it certainly doesn’t feel the same every single time, but it’s recognizable. Over the years I have had my fair share of loss; from family members, to students I cherished, to mentors, to friends and finally a lover I held dear. Nothing about loss gets easier despite who it is, who they transition to in the afterlife, or even if it was quick or painless…grief from loss never gets easier.
One thing I have learned from losing so many dear souls in my life is that you need to be gentle with yourself as you move through the process. The experience of loss won’t be the same every time you feel it. and that’s okay.
I also experience waves of grief when other loss happens in my life. It brings up feelings and memories from other parts of my life. Providing myself the space to feel those things without judging myself is exactly what I need.
I have supportive people in my life and knowing that sometimes all I need is a hug and to cry it out is enough. Other times, I have to sit in my grief and trust that it’s there for a reason and that learning from it is important.
Something I hold tight to is: there is no right or wrong way to experience grief after a loss. Everyone has to have a process but the most important aspect for overall wellness is to allow yourself to move through the feelings and to not stifle them.
Our bodies hold tight to trauma in a way that can affect our gut health and in turn our emotion wellness suffers. I held tight to a variety of losses in my lifetime, which started at a single digit age and have continued for my lifetime. When I held tight to feelings of grief rather than feeling them and moving through them, I held onto darkness that wouldn’t leave my body.
It sounds dramatic but it’s true. Thinking back, experiencing loss so early in life made me fearful of all that comes or doesn’t come after life…whatever you believe. I was afraid of everything. This constant state of anxiety around death ran my life. I was anxious constantly of dying at someone else’s hand because I was terrified of what was to come rather than simply enjoying my life.
When I started to examine my own feelings around all those individuals I’ve lost in my lifetime, I started to heal. I forgave myself for missing out on so many things because I was afraid. There is nothing wrong with being afraid of death and dying; but when it impacts everything else you do, that’s where the trouble lies.
Examining death, dying, grief and loss from a holistic wellness standpoint is important. Look it in the face and have compassion for yourself because it’s a process. It’s a process that helps us identify our own humanity and often times, if not dealt with appropriately or in a timely manner, can manifest in a wide variety of ways including weight gain, poor sleep, discomfort with the idea of dying, etc. Spiritually not addressing our trauma around grief, death or dying can stick with us and stunt our spiritual growth and not allow us to progress in our own development. This is hard because grief and loss are a process and often a lifelong path of managing those emotions.
The best thing I have learned is how I can personally move through the feelings and emotions that come out when something unexpectedly hits me and sparks a memory. The most important point is to remember that grief will not look the same. Every day is different. Every feeling is different. And that’s okay.