Between my husband and I, we lost several immediate family members as well as friends and more distant family members within a few short years. The grief I experienced after the death of loved ones was varied in intensity and longevity. The worst was after my Mother passed away. I have shared with close friends that it felt like my heart had been physically torn out of my body and ripped into pieces. It was a dark period with the sense of no actual future that I could visualise because an essence of me had left. I have never been able to quite articulate the feeling.
Today is my Mother's birthday, and it is almost five and a half years since she died. Even as I write this, I find the emotions difficult. They are different to before, but still hard. This lump in my throat seems permanently lodged, showing up whenever I think of the loss. At the time, I never thought things would get better. I hated to hear the words, 'Time heals', but it is a cliche for a reason.
As I shared, the intensity is still strong, but it is not devastating in the way it had been. The processing of emotions is at the heart of it. I did meditation and breath work as well as kinaesthetic attentiveness that is useful for processing emotions and gaining back balance in life. Loss, especially sudden loss, whether through death or loss of security in a job, home, work, relationship, creates an unexpected shift of framework.
As humans, our primary need is to know we can survive, but change, especially massive changes, create uncertainties in our stability. The balance we may feel shifts. It's like spinning plates, where constant work and concentration is required. But if all the plates are thrown in the air the anxiety to get everything back under control is stress-inducing. Once finally under control, we may still sweat spinning the plates, but we have back some control, and that is at the heart of much self-management philosophy - the knowledge that after all, we do have some influence on how we react, even if not on the actual situation.
I wish my Mum a happy birthday and if there is life after death then reconnecting then or across realms. As Stephen Hawkings has said, there may be a parallel universe where she is alive and well, nagging me about eating properly and proudly telling everyone about my latest adventures.