I had some very sad news yesterday; my gran of 95 (my dad’s mum) sadly passed away. We had been expecting it, she had taken a turn for the worst in the last few weeks and when I received an email from my mum on Monday I knew things had gone from bad to worse. I was on my way to Mysore practice when my mum called and informed me of the news. As much as you think you’re prepared for a loss, nothing prepares you for that moment when you find out. My gran had lived with us next door (you could say it was a granny flat) from when I was born right up until I left home to move to Dublin to go to college. So I guess you could say we were very close! The saddest and hardest thing is that I wish I could be back in Ireland right now with my family (especially my dad) to be there for them all during this hard time. That has to be one of the hardest things about living on the other side of the world miles away from family!
When I heard the news I thought about heading back to my apartment to grieve in silence but at this stage I was at the door of the yoga studio. I knew more than anything I needed my yoga that morning, so in I walked sad and lonely. My heart was feeling a little shattered and broken. All I wanted was to be right back at home close to my family. So my intention for my practice there and then was to dedicate it to my granny and to remain very present in my body and my breath.
Unfortunately we will all experience grief and loss at some point in our lives. The loss of a loved one can be the most painful thing.[box type=”info”]
Grief is a natural, active process during which we experience intense feelings, revisit memories, and adjust to life without the loved one. There is no rght or wrong way of grieving but here is what has helped me in the last couple of days. The ways we process our grief can be different for each person. Grieving is a natural and healthy response to a loss.[/box]
Here are some ways I helped myself grieve:
- Seeking out support from loved ones (friends, family, partner etc.).
- Breathe and stretch – get on your mat if you have a regular yoga practice like I do.
- Find significance from the experience; this can include taking comfort in exploring spiritual views; finding meaning does not essentially mean turning to spirituality; it can include finding a new outlook on life or satisfying new goals in light of the death of a loved one.
- Attending to your health, including sustaining a healthy diet (your body still needs nutritious foods), exercising (helps your mood), and getting enough sleep (8hours).
- Keep up your daily rituals (this is a time when you need them most).
- Continue to take part in existing hobbies and creative and social outlets.
- Process your emotions, don’t try to keep them stored inside. Cry if you need to cry, spend a day crying spend as long as you need to crying. Cry a waterfall if needs be! Crying is a natural way to release very intense feelings that need to be expressed in order to heal. If you feel sad, let yourself have your feelings and try not to run away from your emotions.
- Journal about your loss, get it out of your head and on to paper.
- Give yourself permission to let your life adjust to this major loss. Fill yourself full of positive remembrances.
- Talk about it to friends/family/partner. We need to share memories and talk about how much pain we are in. The more we talk about it, the better we feel.
- Spend lots of time in nature – walks by the ocean.
- It’s OK to feel grief for days, weeks, or even longer, depending on how close you were to the person who died.
- People sometimes deal with their sadness by getting involved in activities like drinking, drugs etc. This isn’t really helping with the pain, only hiding it, which makes all those feelings build up even more inside and only prolongs the grief.
- Create a memorial or tribute. Plant a tree, or do a charity run or walk in honor of your lost loved one. I have decided to do the SevenBridgesWalk in Oct this year in honor of my granny.
Moving forward and healing from your grief doesn’t mean forgetting about the person you lost. Getting back to enjoying your life doesn’t mean you no longer miss your loved one. And how long it takes until you start to feel better isn’t a measure of how much you loved the person. Remember all those things, it does not make you a worse person!
Have you recently had to go through a loss, what helped you?
Love and Light,