Wednesday, October 5, 2016


 -- Loss -- 

It has been along sad journey for us in the repeated loss of parents. My biological dad passed away when I was about 18 or 19, if memory serves correctly. And Dave's mom passed away when I was 32-33. But this loss did not prepare me for the devastating loss of my mom and her husband when I was 40. These deaths all hit hard, in different ways - so much that the pain haunted me when we discovered dave's dad (the last parent) was going to die. I knew the pain was coming, the grief, the exhaustion, the legalities and meetings and official circles that come with being in the executor realm, again. With each parent, Dave and I were the closest kin (location wise) and so we did a lot of support activities for each parent and their individual needs.

With small bouts of peace between the illness and death, we somehow kept our sanity. Then this one hit. Well it hit hard. We were already at the end of our reserves and now, after his passing, the crazy haze of busyness has dried to a slow trickle of steady plodding and our home life is catching up. In this frame of mind, I'd like to share some tips for dealing with grief and stress:

Taking time off from work was one way for us to gain some sanity in our lives during these years. It allowed us the time to catch up on things at home, in the garden, in our life - so that we felt more settled in our own lives, which gave us more strength for other things.

Getting away, even if it was just taking the dogs to the bush, visiting the lake, taking a drive for an hour or 2. Longer is better of course, and we made sure to take small camping holidays usually 3 days at a time, as we couldn't be away longer than that. And during those holidays, I refused to do anything much at all - no activities - just relaxing, reading, watching the fire, watching the trees, watching the waves. Ahhhh....

Taking care of one's self is a huge importance too. Developing and enforcing good habits like doing yoga daily (if possible), taking periods of the day to breathe deeply and fully, taking one's vitamin and mineral supplements, drinking more water, etc.

Keeping busy helps to alleviate the heavy grief load, excess energy and emotional stress. Making lists of things that need to get done and then going through them each day to find the most important ones that should be addressed first, start at the top priority and work your way down until you are tired.

Refuse to watch or read anything online or on TV, etc. that doesn't have a comedy element to it. Look for amusing, fun, funny, comedic, light hearted, heart warming content and refuse anything else in your headspace at this time.

Talk to the walls. No really. Talk when no one is around, make sure the windows are closed, and talk away. For some of us, the act of talking our thoughts, feelings, stresses out like this means we can do so without fear of judgement or repercussion. We can just vent and in that venting find meaning, direction, ease the stress we are feeling, and find direction for the rest of the day. You may find writing works best for you, instead of talking to the walls. Or talking to your pet. Or deity. Whatever works for you. Talk it out.

Speaking of pets - they are great medicine. Be sure to play with one as often as possible, groom them, pet them, cuddle them, play with them, talk to them. They will ease your pain, bring cuddly comfort, and laughter too.

Whatever you are facing in your stress or grief, get educated. Research and ask questions about it from people or resources in that field - you'll be surprised at how many helpful tip sheets you can find out there that walk you through the process. Be very proactive - get online and find out. This is not a time to be passive and expect others to watch out for your or your family's interest.

Do something to celebrate or honor each stage along the way - be it paying off a debt (and celebrating by burning the papers) or planting a tree, or donating to a cause in honor of your loved one. Taking yourself out for special treatment somewhere, because you accomplished a goal. Exchanging massages with your spouse for a hard day's work.

I'll be taking the next few days to adjust back into life and then will be back in the office ready to share more conscious living topics. I appreciate your patience this past couple years while we dealt with personal illness and the loss of a family member.

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