Grief CPR Series
Emotion = Energy in Motion
No more “going thru the motions” Get un-stuck!.
I am a mother – daughter – wife – sister – granddaughter. I love my family deeply, so when I lose a member of my family or a close friend, how do I move forward in my grief? I am being specific when I say with or in my grief, as I will never move through it, move on, or get over it as some imply. It is a part of my being, of who I am, I did however need to learn how to control my self talk and thoughts. In order to live with it, and keep it in my past and not bring it into my daily life as incontrollable pain.
I share my thoughts with you as a woman who has lost loves. 2 children in very different ways, my mother, grandparents, and close friends. Some of you may have lost more people in your lives and some less. It is not how many people in your life you have lost, but in how you react to their loss.
Some people try to soften the impact of the loss with words, such as they passed away, passed on, were laid to rest, slipped away…my children died. It was not a gentle passing, it was raw, and deep, and with great suffering on my part as well as my family. At some time in our lives we will all have to deal with grief on a very personal level. We as a society do not like to talk about or deal with death openly. Not many of us have the emotional tools to deal with grief. When we are suddenly thrown into the deep pain of loss, we are so overwhelmed. I know I was. I was so young, only 21 years old when my first son died in a car accident. I was driving. I had deep guilt, along with empty arms. My grief consumed me for 4 long years. I could not move forward, I merely existed in the pain from day to day.
Since that first loss I have lost another child, my mother, my grandparents, and close friends. When someone asks how I have moved through my grief, I can only say I live with my grief one day at a time. I lived so long in the darkness of depression, I do not want to go there ever again, it’s ugly. When someone comments to me “I never knew” I know I have succeeded in moving forward in my grief. I say this because I choose to live my life day to day in the present, not the past. I would give anything, especially my own life, to bring my children back, but I can’t do that. So I choose to go on and see the joy life can bring to my daily life. I can choose to be sad and cry and withdraw from life, or choose to find happiness in what my life is now.
So how do I move forward with my own grief? The answer, although painful, is really quite simple. I had to become bigger than my own pain. How did I do that, and how do I continue to do that? Good question. Simple answer ~ baby steps. Some days were breath by breath it seemed.
Grieving is a process of moving through the pain. I had to accept that feeling the hurt was necessary, and OK. The hardest part was to allow myself to let the pain flow back out of my being. I was afraid to let go of the pain and feel nothing. I felt that if I was feeling the pain, I was doing what I was supposed to do. The pain became a part of me, and when it was time to let it go, I was afraid of letting it go, afraid of the unknown. Who was I without pain? It had been my constant companion for so long that letting it go was frightening. How do I move forward without pain? Can I?
I didn’t just wake up one day and say, “ok now I am done with the pain.” I chose to quit feeling sorry for myself basically. It took a wise person asking me who I truly was feeling sorry for? Was I feeling sorry for my children who were gone and no longer suffering, or was I feeling sorry for myself? Was I feeling sorry for my surviving children who will never know their brothers, yes. Was I causing my children more pain by being stuck in my grief and being so sad, yes.
Could I change that, YES!
So as I reflected upon my life and surviving the deaths of my children, I vowed to become bigger than my pain to become the mother, daughter, wife and sister the rest of my family loved and missed so dearly.
I have learned over the years that self talk and thought, defines who we are.
I learned what a self-defeating attitude truly is. I lived that way in the depths of my grief, feeling helpless, and not knowing how to over come the pain. My life had been ripped apart literally right before me eyes. I watched my son die in the car accident. I could not get that image out of my head. I had to be taught how to block the ugliness in my life. How to take control of my own thoughts, and no longer be a prisoner to my pain.
To do that, I studied about how our sub-conscious works. It is quite obedient to our mental demands upon it. If I said this is too hard, I can’t do this without bursting out in tears (common in grief) my brain would work very diligently to make sure that happened. But when I would tell myself both in thoughts and spoken words that this is going to be tough but I can get through it without the emotional outburst, that my brain would make that work too. Taking control is about being aware of every thought we have. If we focus on the pain, be it physical or mental, then our brain will bring it to us. If we focus on healing, and positive reactions, our brain/sub conscious will bring that to us also. I am not talking about the spiritual aspect (a whole different subject) but the daily working of our mind-body connection. I had times in public that had been triggers to completely unravel me, and I learned to tell myself, not now, this is not the time and place to feel this emotion, it serves no purpose to me, stop. And it would indeed stop, it was like a 100 pound weight lifted off my shoulders, I could breath again. I had gained control.
The hardest part was allowing myself to love deeply again, without fear. Not such an easy task. I quit holding back and got involved in life again. I allowed myself to find joy in the simple things with my children, we played together again, and I found peace from within. I could sit in the swing on my mothers back porch with her and watch the sunset and enjoy it, versus crying because my son was not sitting with us. I would take walks along the river with my husband, and watch the kids and dog play, and smile with my heart and face.
So what at first was hard became easy. I was able to move forward in my grief by living my life one day at a time. Some days I would not move forward, even a little backward, but I did grow stronger each day. As time went by the good days started outnumbering the bad days. I am moving forward (WITH NOT THROUGH) my grief, on a daily basis, by just living my life in the present.
I recently got an email from my friend, Sunny Dawn Johnston, who is a special person in my life, and I am going to quote her below because I became stuck in my grief and lived years just going thru the motions until I FIXED ME and gained control!
“Until we make the deliberate choice of pursuing self-love and begin playing an active role in our own lives (instead of merely going through the motions), nothing will ever change!
Change comes with consistent connection to Source, inner strength, confidence, focus, and the help of a supportive community to remind you of the light you possess when you may temporarily forget it yourself!
Remember this friend-
you are WORTHY
and you are NOT ALONE
Affirm this at all times!
Sending light and love,
Sunny”Sunny Dawn Johnston
This is not a paid link, just a sharing of a loving heart from me to you if you want to learn more about her. She is real person, not a fake or flake, living her life’s purpose to help others.