Be Gentle on Yourself

My own experience of grief is that it leaves you awash and somewhat at sea in the general melee of life. It is multifaceted, many coloured and variously described as seasons or waves.
I was surprised recently as I lost my dear mother, at the extreme tiredness that suddenly overcame me and yet I know that others can have incredible energy and want to clean out or go for a bike ride. So these words from a loving friend “be gentle on yourself” resonated and I gave myself permission to sleep, take quiet walks and watch some Netflix! Amid all that waited around me to be resumed, started and done.

I have often thought that this period of grief could be likened to emotional intensive care, and while some of us may be weeping and wanting to talk about it and others are not shedding a tear and not wanting to talk about it – the reality is we are on an emotional roller coaster and we need to acknowledge that this is not just ‘life as usual!!”
While I may have appeared calm and coping on the outside my physical body was shouting something different with ‘weak spots’ flaring up.

Over the years I have discovered grief truly cannot be encapsulated in time – there is that natural period of raw intensive grief surrounding the loss of a loved one and then there are the moments through the months and years ahead where a memory is triggered or where we deeply miss the one who would have loved an occasion or a moment.

This Christmas, my first Christmas without my dear Mother is proving to be a tender time for me. We both loved Christmas and in recent years I would fly to Christchurch for a few days to help her make Christmas cakes, mince tarts with her own special recipe for Christmas mince and pastry [a hot favourite of her granddaughter Jess!] I find myself unexpectedly bursting into tears as I talk about this, bake, create and remember – and I take a moment to pause, allow the tears to flow and to give thanks for this precious time we always shared and the legacy she has given me.

The grieving process is also a healing process, moving through us like a wave with a whole mix of emotions as we get used to that person no longer being with us. It can’t be hurried, it has its own timing and the moment comes when we definitely know “it is time” to pick up that next project and move forward.

And aren’t we blessed with remembering?! As our loved ones are never far from our hearts – giving us strength and hope for our journey.

Grieve not that she is no longer,
But give thanks that she ever was,
For what the heart once owned and loved,
Can never be lost.