Mental Health · Uncategorized

7 Tips for Dealing with Grief

It all started off with a memory.

Facebook so kindly popped this picture on my thread on Tuesday and it kind of kicked me in the gut because… grief. Then as I was scrolling on I ran across a post in one of the livestock showing groups from a Mom wanting examples of senior pictures with kids’ livestock projects in them. OMG! She’s going to be a senior next year.. my brain started firing synapses out of control. Somehow the multitude of emails and catalogs from colleges hadn’t quite registered yet. My emotions turned to panic and suddenly EVERY SINGLE THING seemed so overwhelming, unbearable and insurmountable. All of a sudden I was freaking out about my only child moving away and being left alone and the even bigger deal was that my Mom wasn’t here to see her graduate, to see her head off to college and enter adulating mode.

I spent the next 2 1/2 days days crying. Grief is a funny thing. You’re going along minding your own business and BAM!!! A truck full of emotion rounds the corner and runs over you leaving you sooo helpless you can hardly function. One would think that after nearly 5 years I would be coping better, but thats the thing, although the bouts get further apart, the intensity is just as strong. The thing I think I HAVE learned, sort of, is how better to help myself cope and that is what I want to share today:


• Grief can be emotionally and physically exhausting. It is important allow yourself the time to grieve and care for yourself.

• Seek interaction. I find I tend to close in on myself when in the deepest throes of my grief but I often feel better if I TALK to someone and share how I am feeling. Talk about your feelings with family, trusted friends on a professional.

• Take a break.. from grieving. Grieving is a good thing but its important to give yourself a break and direct your mind to pleasant distraction. After weeks of watching my mom fade away in hospice, the day after she passed, I turned my brain off and went to a horse show. I needed that distance, that break from 24 hour a day waiting and worry. The business of grief and death was waiting for me the next day.

• Explore creative outlets. Try expressing your grief/ feelings through a creative outlet such as writing, music or art.

• Get OUT! Get outside, get fresh air and get some exercise. We know that exercise is good for you as it releases endorphins. Even a quick walk can help you get out of a funk and feel better.

• Forgive yourself. Grief often comes with “I should haves”, whether they be relationship issues, things left unsaid or guilt from actions undone. Allow yourself some grace and give yourself permission to move on from this guilt so you can embrace happier memories.

• BE PATIENT. Remember there is NO TIMELINE. Everyone grieves in their own way and time. Grief cannot be hurried, and there is no end.

If you find yourself really struggling, there are services and resources available. Contact your doctor, insurance carrier or check out these resources:

Home on the Range · Mental Health

Caught off guard

“Instead, it’s pooling like groundwater. Polling underneath my skin, seeping to the surface here and there, now and then. Endlessly replenished. Easy to forget about, until it startles me with the depth of it. The usual suspects- cancer movies, weddings. And then there are times it catches me completely off guard,…”

Bethanny Chase, “The One That Got Away”

I read this passage last night and it had been knocking about in my head all day, just tapping away for me to spit out some thoughts and feelings. Believe me the feelings are THERE.. they run under the skin constantly as Chase describes in her book. So many writers are so good at describing what I struggle to put into words.

GRIEF

At first you can barely breathe, ever. Time passes and the feelings are always present but maybe they don’t show themselves on the outside as often. But for me, a little over 4 years later, while I think of my Mom daily, I don’t always find myself heaped in a puddle on the floor. There are the triggers as Chase mentions.. Yes, cancer movies. Yes, Mother’s Day commercials. Yes, milestones having to do with my daughter and all the things my Mom will miss about her only grandchild and namesake growing up.

It’s always there.. and then there are the days like today where I’m just caught off guard. Likely the book passage pushed me over the edge..but yesterday I was brought to tears by my daughter relating a story from her Spanish teacher assigning the simple homework assignment of “going home and hugging your parents”. Why? Her husband has cancer, and she is grateful that it is not spreading. She is grateful she still has him. I’d be grateful too and you can bet Hannah got an A on that assignment.

My advice to those going through the stages of grief has always been to allow themselves to FEEL the feelings. Go through the steps and remember that some day it really does get better. It DOES, I promise. But then there are days, like today, when you are just caught off guard, and thats ok too.