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  • Writer's pictureLaura Roeven

Lost Treasure: changing the narrative on grief

“What we have once enjoyed we can never lose; all that we deeply love becomes a part of us.” – Helen Keller

But what if we DO lose it? What if what I had is gone?

Loss, The Part It Plays in Our Lives

When I was taking my dog for a walk this morning, a long-time elderly resident pulled up in his ancient pick-up truck asking if I had seen his dog. The ache was everywhere, longing to be united with his pal. That’s how it is when we don’t choose to be parted from a treasure. We long for the return of what we had. Sometimes, it is a longing for who we were in a different stage in life. The transition happens over time and waking up to how it is can be an abrupt sensation of #loss. Or, watching a relationship leave without your consent can feel like a rug pulled out from under your feet. Trying to make sense of the “why” does not satiate the grief of the relationship ending. With tenderness and compassion, let’s explore loss and the transition it asks of us.

Allow time for grief

As much as we want to feel better and rise up out of the #grief, the most important gift we can give ourselves is a non-rushing time. This quality of time is patient and open ended. “Take all the time you need.” Loss is experienced differently and uniquely. Just as we allow a child the time they need to work out a new skill like reading, we need to navigate the newness of loss with the time we require. Start where you need. Imagine a room you could spend hours in with care and comfort. My image is a vast library filled with my type of books and music. What would it be like to give yourself vast support? What would unconditional spaciousness provide? What could that look like?

English Language Change: I am a human experiencing loss

I’m divorced. I’m ill. I’m in-between jobs. I’m a widow. A language change is needed to better support the tender light of who we are.

I’m a person experiencing loss.

This change of sentence structure supports the capable, competent, and whole person that I am. I am NOT the change. I am not death, job loss, divorce, or change. I am me. Humans experience language and identity with our words. Let’s choose differently. I am me. How does it feel to hold your beloved self as you? The treasure of you is experiencing divorce, illness, a job loss, death of a loved one. You are not those changes. Hold yourself as precious first. This allows the person to process loss from a slightly different place. I imagine a sturdier me holding myself up as I process the loss. I am me. I am experiencing change.

Welcome my friend, Grief. Sit down next to me

So often we push away, ignore, and un-friend grief. Why would we welcome this dreary guest? Because what we do not tend to as a kind and generous friend, stays persistently in the background until we do. In the background, grief can loom with depressive thoughts, irritation, and loneliness. When I settle in with an unwanted emotion as I would a friend with a cup of tea, I can get to the heart of it. What is it, dear Grief, you are trying to tell me? Welcome old friend, Loss. I accept what you have to say. There are no barriers here. Truth and vulnerability couch our conversation. Let’s talk.

Befriending Grief: One Narrative

Grief: “I miss how things were.”

Me: “Yes. I miss how things were.”

Grief: “I liked (memories, the way it was in detail, flood of emotion)

Me: “Yes, I liked that too.”…Space…Sit with this…And when you are ready ask, “What do you need?”

Grief: “I need to feel the way I did.”

Me: “What would feel that way now?”

Befriending loss is the beginning of acceptance.

Self Care: A Primer for Grief

Moment by moment, you may tend to your needs by asking,

  • What do I need right now? Quiet? A bath? Warmth? Tea?

  • What support can I ask for? Please listen. Please hold me. Please be with me.

  • Where am I at with my grief? At the edge. In the heart of it. Turning my back on it.

  • What does acceptance look like? Too much to ask. Breathing in what is. Knowing my loss more.

  • Where do I hold this loss in my body? I keep wondering why. My heart aches. There is a hollowness in my gut.

“All things flow, nothing abides. You cannot step into the same river twice, for the waters are continually flowing on. Nothing is permanent except change." – Heraclitus

It’s not the Same River

How often do we berate ourselves with, “I can’t believe I’m here again?! I feel just as miserable as before.” Oh dear self, it may feel the same, but it isn’t. It is not the same river you stepped into before in your journey with grief. Curious soul, “What is different now? Sadness may feel the same, but there have been changes. What are they?” Imagine this river, the water flowing past your body. Breathe into your mind and allow the breath to travel past your heart and into your low abdomen. The outbreath can flow back up, refreshing and renewing as it travels up out of the gut, past the heart and out through the crown of your head. What does my breath find along this way? What does my mind say? Is my heart needing something tended to? Am I ready for the courage my gut has to offer? The river looks the same in appearance. But notice the current, the ripples, the slight changes in quality. These are not the same. Each moment is new. Tending to change and loss requires regular check-ins to care for what this moment holds. What support can you ask for to continue your self-care? Need help with this? Book a session today.

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