Yesterday I wrote about how I have learned from each loss in my life - death does that, you just have to learn from it. I also went to dinner with a dear friend who I just adore and we were talking about how other people deal with loss. Mostly, not so great. For instance we know someone who is diving into the bar scene rather than feeling the pain - because, really it hurts so much. Another person I know, because of life circumstances, just got busy - really busy - and didn't start realizing they had lost someone important to them until months later. So I thought I would elaborate on how I am giving myself the tender care I need. Disclaimer, this is what is working for me - today - it may not be a good fit for you, but I thought I would share anyway.
- Quiet Time Alone: I am, as I have with every death, experiencing the shock that happens when you remember that someone died and you can't believe it is true. This is happening for me at 3 or 4 in the morning, lucky me! We all have periods of wakefulness in our sleep, but I am waking up and remembering and not being able to go back to sleep. I am just too upset. (This is starting to fade after a week.) I just get up. I shower, nermal around the house, write, sit and just experience what it is like to not have my sister/dad/mom/friend in my life. I feel it. I cry. I allow myself to be sad.
- Explaining: When my mom and dad died I didn't talk about how much I was suffering. I just got busy and bucked up. Isn't that the American way? I was cranky, tired, and sad all by myself. This time I am sharing with my husband and close friends what is happening. So they understand the strange behavior.
- Eating Right: I am not overeating and I am not under-eating. In fact, I am using MyFitnessPal.com to track my eating to make sure I am covering my basis. If you are prone to not eating during a crisis or you are a binge eater the tool is extremely helpful to gauge what you nutrition is.
- Commitments: I am meeting my commitments, but I am not taking on more things right now. I get asked to participate in a lot of events, meetings, etc. And right now I am not adding new things to the calendar. There are already a lot of things scheduled. I just want to make sure I am making those happen.
- Friends: I am making time to be with friends on a one on one basis. Just short visits to make sure I am not isolating myself.
- Not Losing Myself: Well it is not question that I am not losing myself to drinking or drugs, but I am also not watching countless hours of TV, online for hours and hours, even reading is cut back a bit so I am dealing with the now and not getting lost in the fantasy.
- Exercise: I haven't gotten back on an exercise schedule, but that is happening next week. I need to move and not remain stiff. I can feel the aches and pains of not moving much in the last week and now I know my body is telling me to get up.
- Writing: I am writing on my blogs, on paper and letters. All things take reflection and focus - important component to not lose site of what is happening, but reflecting on it in a tangible way. Also the process lets the raw emotion get out without causing harm.
- Giving Space: I am also giving my nieces, daughter, brother in law and husband the space they need to grieve. Not forcing my will on what I want. I believe that their process, whatever it is, is valid and real, I don't need to force my way on anyone. I care more about the after relationship; I want those to last a lifetime.
There are no easy ways out of grief, but over the years these are the skills I have developed to cope. The communication and self care has been vital to making the moment count and assimilate into my mind - something that after dealing with it in other ways seems to be feeling right.