When we are grieving it can feel an endless cycle of pain and heartache, but it is so important that we hang on to hope. Hope for a better day. Hope that we will make it through to the other side of chaos.
I have often been asked, “What is the one thing that has really helped you. That stands out?”
I have learned there is no one thing. There are a lot of things that can help us. I have discovered a holistic approach to healing has helped. We are body, soul and spirit. All these areas need our attention. It is a slow process and can’t be hurried. I remember thinking that I was over this pain, I didn’t want to feel it, and I just wanted to get on with my life.
It doesn’t seem to work like that unfortunately. We can have a rest from the ache by having a holiday and it helps for a bit, which is a good idea. We went overseas where no one knew us, which was a break. It does come crashing back when we get home though, but we do get a chance to look at things from a different perspective and have a bit more energy for the next phase. A very important thing to note is grieving isn’t depression. (Although it may lead to it if we don’t keep moving forward) It is a normal part of life. We have to learn to be patient and let the process naturally unfold.
Our physical health is a hard one, as we feel so tired and heavy and don’t sleep well. I liken it to walking in a snow-storm with heavy boots on, and uphill. I started walking for 15 minutes a day and gradually I was able to manage more. Early on I took half a sleeping pill for about three days in a row to get back into the habit of better sleeping patterns and repeated for a bit. I find I don’t wake up well after pills! It is a good short term help though. The issues we try not to think about during the day come to mind in the early hours. For a while we would have a cup of tea at 2.00am and talk.
My stomach was in knots but I found eating bland food helped. Our bodies definitely react when we have a crisis in our lives. Our metabolism changes and slows. Interestingly, we were told we would crave salty food to start with. (Yes, chips with lots of salt!) Then sweet food. On this bumpy journey we have found out a lot of helpful advice from all sorts of professionals. There are a lot of good people out there who are only too willing to help. We just need to be open to help and receive it.
When we care for ourselves it really is a matter of survival. We have a better chance. To ignore looking after ourselves will lead to health problems down the track. If we don’t have our health we don’t have many options of how we live. Bryan and I wanted to be fit enough to be here for our grandchildren, to help them get through the issues they face. Despite bad or sad things that have happened in all of our lives, they can still lead a fulfilling, good life. Not ending up bitter and twisted has been achieved by many others in generations past, so we too can be inspired and have hope from those who have trod this path before us.