I know a lot of people who are grieving for loved ones right now... and I'm sure that there are even more of you out there who are dealing with it too. It is a life passage that most of us face at some point.... and thereafter on more numerous occasions as we age and see loved ones pass on. It's an experience that is similar.. but also very different for each person, however, there are a few common things that may help "everyone" while passing through the hurt and healing.
A month or two before Heni passed away.... I found myself having to revert "back to basics" in practically all areas of life. In the time that I had as respite, I was trying to work on a number of things in order to try to feel somewhat human and keep going. Things like diet, sleep, fitness... I had reverted back to a "begin to run program", in hope that it would build up stamina and strength again. It was the same with "weights".... I had reverted to the basic movements with teeny weeny dumbbells or even no weight at all! It was about all I could muster as I was dealing with the consequences (burn out) that being a long term carer often brings.
I also found that I was having to rely upon faith.... A LOT .... faith... that first/basic principle of the gospel that gets you trusting and relying on the unseen and unknown.... (a useful principle especially in our circumstances)... having faith that everything in our lives would all work out .... having faith that we would have enough help when we needed it most, having faith that I would have enough energy to make it through each day. With that faith came a "handing over to God" each days difficulties, and trusting and hoping that He would support and guide each decision that would come along... and learning to have faith in heaven's plan and timing.
Now in the aftermath of the funeral and in the few months that have followed, I'm finding that life is even MORE BASIC. It feels like I have had to go right back to starting point in a number of things.
I've joined a local Pilates class (where my body is being stretched and strengthened in all the core movements)..... I'm back to walking instead of running (while my back heals and realigns after so many years of lifting and handling Heni).... and each new day I remind myself to eat properly (by cooking from scratch), breathe and get the sleep my body needs. Faith is also being exercised in a greater degree than before as I rely even more on the enabling, uplifting help of heaven to overcome the waves of grief, to become stronger (physically and emotionally) and to navigate a way into a different life ahead. I rely on Grace being supplied, as and when the ups and downs of my days may demand (I just love the lyrics in that song...How Firm a Foundation!)
It's a certainty that we will all experience grief at some stage and even if its not around right now...no doubt we all have those moments in life when it is just too complex, too fast, too full or too emotionally fraught to find a moment to even think. It's at times like this, that it may be helpful to narrow your sights, pull in the reins and concentrate on the next step or two ahead... even if you don't know where those steps are leading.
We are all ultimately trying to "do" and "be" better.... but that is often mistaken for constant frenzied activity that leaves you feeling exhausted.....grief can leave you feeling frazzled too. You can also find yourself on a guilt trip which leaves you feeling like you should be doing more and more or snapping out of the flunk that you may find yourself in. It's At times like this when greater faith and a heightened awareness of what you need can help. It's useful to know when you should "cut that extra social appointment"..... "be satisfied with a less than Olympic workout" and replace it with a walk or a chill out on the sofa. Its important to tune in to the times your body and mind are screaming out to catch some much needed zzzz'z in a nap .... or when you need a concerted effort to get to bed earlier each night. We all really need to learn how to say "No" sometimes.
And so... we have to reassess and find our what our priorities are.... and work on those... after all there is a time and a season for everything.... even one to grieve.
Time does heal... eventually... but it will never be the same...and it often takes a different pace for everyone to find out what that new "norm" (if there is such a thing) is going to be like. Sometimes people may expect too much from you way too soon..... when it feels like you are still not capable of doing the basics yet. It is at such moments that it's good to be reminded of the following:-
Mosiah 4:27 And see that all these things are done in wisdom and order; for it is not requisite that a man should run faster than he has strength. And again, it is expedient that he should be diligent, that thereby he might win the prize; therefore, all things must be done in order.
The passage through grief is a time when you have to know (or at least come to learn) your limits, how to maintain your boundaries and priorities and trust your instincts as to what is needful. It's important to remember that things will change and can be re-assessed and adjusted as necessary when the time is right. It's unfortunate though, that we often have to go through these very hard experiences to learn these boundaries and begin to have faith in our instincts!
Going back to basics is really "simplifying" and taking the noise and frenzy out of life.... focusing on the core essentials, which (like my Pilates) allows you to build up your foundation again before moving on to other things. Simplifying is not however always synonymous with "easier". Grief is never easy and saying "no" is often not very easy either.
So, If you are currently navigating your way through the tides of a bereavement... I wish I could first just give you a hug... and then...I'd encourage you to be easy on yourself and give yourself the gift of time to heal. Time to concentrate on those things that are most needful and important at this point in time.
Also I would wish for you the gift of increased faith as you hand over each days difficulties to God, trusting and hoping that He will support and guide each of your decision ... as you learn to trust in His plan, His timing and His never ending love and concern for you.
I'd like to invite you to join me soon to learn more about one of the "basic tools" that I have been practicing recently to re-tame my thoughts and emotions.... in particular regarding Heni and my journey through the process of grief.
Hope to see you back here real soon.