I’ve wrestled with loss either directly or indirectly for many years now. Loss comes in so many different forms – you could say everything involves an element of loss. Of course, for some bereavement comes to mind straight away, for others it may be loss of freedom or rights, for all of us at the moment it’s the loss of social contact. My children have experienced an awful lot of loss from the loss of their birth parents, to loss of a ‘normal’ childhood experience.
As I’ve mentioned already my current loss is most evident through losing my Mum a few weeks ago to cancer. A long and painful process as many people have to go through. Grief is a strange journey and I know much has been written and said about it to support those going through it.
I’ve been struck this week by the parallels of grief during our Covid-19 lockdown experience. Grief can sometimes be relieved or better endured with others. My grief I know needs company. As an extrovert I generally process things through relationship and at the moment that is so difficult to do.
However, I think there are times when we all need to accept that our grief is a personal one. When my Dad died 11 years ago now I learnt through that experience that being with others sometimes does not help – no-one can truly understand your own pain.
Of course, for us all our loss of freedom and change of lifestyle currently can leave us with a feeling of grief, bereft and adrift. I’ve felt it many times over these last weeks and I’m sure it will continue. So, how do we travel this grief road well at the moment? Some thoughts from my perspective and have helped me….
- Talk about it. Recognising your own sadness is a powerful thing. Being able to say to those close to you – I am sad, or upset, or angry is ok. In fact it’s more than ok it’s necessary. Of course, talking to everything is unwise and knowing who to talk to is a gift in itself. However, if you don’t have people close to do that with there are people who will listen. Sometimes someone outside of our own situation is better. I’ve spoken to counsellors and therapists on occasion and there are of course specialists in certain areas of loss, for example Grief Recovery.
- Don’t be afraid of your emotions. I must admit sometimes I’m afraid of my own feelings and allowing myself to ‘wallow’ in sadness – imagining I won’t be able to bring myself out. My brother said something recently about visiting dark places but choosing not to live there. We can (and I think should) allow our emotions to visit those dark places but it’s not necessarily healthy to live there. In other words when I feel sadness about my Mum, I don’t push that sadness down but allow it to come. Then I’m able to focus on the positive things that are happening and be grateful for the relationship we had.
- Express creatively. I’m not really a creative person. Well I am in some ways – but I don’t consider it to really be creative as I can’t draw, paint, sew, cook etc etc. However, I do see the value of being creative in terms of expressing your feelings and processing pain. I’ve found things that suit me. Writing is one – I keep a journal and write when I need to. I listen to music often as a means to connect with my feelings. I love nature and being in my beautiful messy garden at the moment. I also am trying to venture into uncomfortably creative places for me – colouring, baking, craft stuff! There is something for us all that we can connect with and find comfort in.
So, whether you are dealing with loss from before lockdown or due to lockdown – you are not alone. We are connected through our corporate loss at the moment. Let’s talk to each other, feel our emotions and express creatively.
I’d love to hear ways that you may have found to express creatively – always after ideas that might meet those more creatively challenged like myself. Ideas send to – [email protected].