We’ve all experienced some form of grief. It’s part of the human experience. However, without the right support system, some people shut down, become agitated, overcome with sadness and often avoid sharing the impacts of the change.
Many people are familiar with the feelings associated with losing a job. The grief is associated with mourning our professional identity, stability, routine, work friendships and status. Fear or frustration can mask the grief we feel, interrupting our ability to move forward.
Animal advocates and those with four legged ‘children’ feel high levels of grief when their companion pet dies. The loss of this unconditional love leaves a massive hole in our hearts and lives.
The loss of health or physical abilities during and after a health challenge causes grief. We’re left different, often physically as we’ve lost what was once natural.
We also mourn and experience grief when a close relationship ends. Could be a dear friend or lover. Both deliver a broken heart that may take years to mend, if ever.
With good fortune, you may never experience the loss of a pet, a job, a relationship or challenges from a health issue. I know all four of these and one more. The incredible loss when someone we care about dies. The pain from each loss may differ, however it’s all grief. If we pause for a moment, we all know someone – maybe many – that are experiencing grief right now.
I’m sad to say my Dad died last week. This particular loss is a new experience for me. I’ve never had someone this close pass away. The grief seems to have unique triggers, which hit when least expected.
We buried my Dad and laid beautiful flowers at his site. Tears and funny stories were shared. My brother also delivered a heart-warming eulogy. The flowers were wrapped with bows that said Friend, Brother and Father.
Today, we’re back engaging in life; however, there’s this ‘space’ that lingers. I feel a void. The air is moving slower in and out of my lungs. I’m aware that I’m not taking deep breaths. My mind is also wandering through a sense of numb to moments that will soon be ‘cherished memories’ of my Dad.
Over the years, Coaching Clients’ have asked, how does one navigate the time between the loss and adjusting to something new or finding peace within the memories? My experience shows me that there’s no best way to mourn. Grief is something you just can’t prepare for. It’s personal and often a private journey. There’s no manual for moving from the shock, through the pain, and onto something new. It is a time when we need to lean on others and ride the wave of emotions.
For some peace may never come. For others, life somehow moves on. It’s the moving forward, while we feel a big hole in our life that poses the challenge.
I’m moving forward and find ‘being in action’ helps my heart heal. I’ve always enjoyed research, especially when I’m experiencing something unwanted. I decided to research the definition of ‘GRIEF’. I uncovered a few definitions. All of which have some version of the phrase ‘conflicting feelings’ caused by the ‘end of’ or ‘change in’ a familiar pattern of behavior. Each scenario that led to my grief resulted from an end. As when someone important to us dies, the death represents an end to what has been familiar for us.
Our lives are different when someone meaningful to us passes away. Even with routines, the grief may cause us to feel foggy and distracted. We may be in action, though feeling a bit forced as we adapt to the new and unwanted reality.
Our hearts have their own timeline for finding and receiving peace. As my heart heals, I choose to focus on the good stuff. Memories of my Dad that make me smile. From how excited he was each time he saw his grand-kids. How he loved watching them grow up, the giggles, the conversations, to his love for sports. He was a HUGE Patriots Fan, Red Sox, Bruins and Celtics too. Back in his younger days, he was also a bowling champion. As kids, he used to take us and let me ‘win.’ I loved that. The one special moment I have is how surprised people would be to see his smooth moves on the dance floor. He was graceful and so happy.
Grief is powerful space. Maneuvering through grief doesn’t come with guidelines; therefore, I’ll hold a space for myself. The space to allow what needs to surface - to come and for my Dad to lend his help from above. He’s there with our family members who passed before him, our beloved pets, and now he’s fully and immensely ‘free’.
If you’re experiencing grief and seek a support system, don’t hesitate to contact me. You can learn more about Coaching with me, via my website, www.paulaconkey.com