Grief and Loss - It Sneaks Up on You When You Least Expect It
Have you ever gone about your life and everything is great and then boom you’re inexplicably in a shit storm of sadness and the weight is pulling you into the deepest recesses of despair? Sometimes the weight can feel so heavy that any forward movement feels excruciatingly painful and impossible.
That is grief and loss!
Grief isn’t just about the death of someone you love. Grief can be the loss of a missed opportunity, a rejection, losing your job, the end of a relationship, lost time, a life not lived, ill-health, financial loss, or lack of finances, to name but a few.
It’s funny to me that a most amazing thing is currently happening in my life. Something I never expected. I am grateful and happy and trying to stay in the present moment, but it is a reminder of all the loss, missed opportunity, and needless suffering I have experienced.
It’s pulled me so deeply into the past that there is currently no escape route. I am experiencing an existential crisis. In my book Embodied, I talk about the five existential givens of living by James Bugental. Each given brings about an inescapable circumstance called a confrontation. Right now I am experiencing the existential given of Separate-but-Related-ness and the confrontation is A-Partness. It is the “paradox of being related to, but at the same time separate from, others. You have to confront your aloneness, and accept the need to bond with others” (Embodied, 2022).
My current experience is bringing up fear of endings and returning to aloneness once again. It is a reminder of all the feelings of aloneness in my past. I am experiencing feelings of deep regret, sadness, and anger. Anger is definitely on the surface, but the underlying and true emotion is sadness.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels
When you are in grief and loss you will experience a wide range of emotions. They will come and go. There is no right way to grieve. You just have to feel it. Some days you may feel like you are just being pulled by the current and other days you will feel like you have been pulled under by a massive wave, and it’s tearing you apart under the surface and you are drowning.
So, what do you do to support yourself if you are feeling grief and loss? First, be present with your experience. Be gentle, kind, and compassionate with yourself. Grief is not a linear process. You will have good days and not so good days. You will feel like life is back on track and then a thought or memory will pull you back into the trenches for days or weeks. Any forward movement is good. Take as much time as you need.
It is important to acknowledge and feel the deep uncomfortable feelings. Let go and let yourself cry. You know that deep heart-wrenching wailing that rocks you to your core. It’s not easy to sit, feel, and listen to that pain, but it is necessary and cathartic to let it out. Get angry and rage and punch pillows. You can journal your thoughts. Finally, reach out for support from a counsellor or from friends and loved ones who will listen with no judgment or a need to fix it or you; someone who can hold space for you to share your darkest thoughts.
If you are currently grieving a loss in your life, I am sending you love, strength, and a way through to the light on the other side!
Find out more about feeling your emotions and connecting with your body in the multi-award-winning book Embodied: How to Connect to Your Body, Ignite Your Intuition, and Harness Universal Energy for Healing.