I often see images and posts explaining the grieving process as if it is a step by step process.
This has not been my personal experience and it doesn't seem to be the experience of my clients.
I think this is one of the biggest challenges after a loss. Our own expectation (not even to mention other people's expectations), that it should be a linear process. A process with a clear beginning and end. A "to do list", with clear instructions so that we can get rid of the pain as efficiently and quickly as possible.
It is not...
You might think you "let go" and the next moment someone sends you a picture, or you hear a song, or smell a familiar smell and it puts you right back to square one...
BUT, as a wise friend once suggested, you enter square one with a little more skills, it is a little more familiar and if you are aware and conscious of the process you navigate through the pain a little better than the previous time.
So yes, it is about letting it hurt and bleed (engaging with sadness and grief) and letting it heal, and letting it go over, and over and over again.
May you find companions on your healing journey who understand this.
I offer grief support online and in person. You are welcome to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anger's job is to alert us that we are trying to protect something. Unfortunately we are not taught how to question ourselves, stay calm and channel our anger in productive ways.
Often anger is trying to protect our "value".
Something happens and we feel disrespected, as if our opinion has no value, and immediately anger shows up to alert us of this thought...
So how do we deal with it?
Step 1 - remove yourself from the situation if possible.
Step 2- self compassion. You were probably triggered because of a wound from earlier in life...allow yourself to acknowledge the wound and how much it hurts.
Step 3 - figure out what you are trying to protect (it is often not the obvious thing, it is often something about your identity and self worth and value.)
Step 4 - If it is your self-worth you are trying to protect, ask yourself if your worth is determined by the situation?? The answer is often "no"...
Step 5 - decide how you can respond in order to set a boundary and maintain your self-respect...
Step 6 - be kind to yourself, life is difficult...you will learn and grow...
Wees baie versigtig om raad uit te deel aan iemand wat platgeslaan is deur die lewe. As jy nog nie werklik verlies ervaar het nie weet jy nie waarvan jy praat nie. Dit is nie nodig om geestelike sousies oor te gooi of wyshede kwyt te raak in 'n poging om die persoon beter te laat voel nie. Dit help regtig nie. Al wat dit tot gevolg het is om die persoon skuldig te laat voel oor die feit dat hy/sy seer het. Dit lei tot onnodige selfkastyding, wat die pyn uiteindelik net erger maak.
Elke dag wat iemand wat deur pyn en hartseer worstel, dit regkry om op te staan en min of meer normaal te funksioneer is 'n deurbraak. Een klein treetjie op 'n slag.
On 2 March 2015 this was the sight I woke up to. The mountains surrounding Fish hoek were on fire and there was a strong wind chasing it and fueling it.
I was not sleeping in my own bed that night because it was the night my marriage of 23 years finally ended. After a gut wrenching conversation I had to say, with tears in my eyes, "I can't continue any longer". When he left I remember falling into the arms of my friend in who's house the conversation took place, sobbing like I have never sobbed in my life before. I just couldn't comprehend what had just happened and I finally went to bed feeling more alone than ever.
So when I woke up from a restless sleep and saw the mountain on fire it felt as if nature was in sync with what I was experiencing. The powerlessness to change anything, the disbelief, the utter fear and misery about what the future holds.
The next day I volunteered to help "fight" the fire on the mountain. At least it was something practical I could do. And so the fire on the mountain and the recovery became a metaphor of my grief journey. Yes, you read it correctly, the death of a marriage is an intense experience of loss. It is the loss of all your ideals of "they lived happily ever after", it is the loss of your idea of the home you wanted to provide for your children, it is the loss of your identity, it is the loss of who you wanted to be and so I can continue.
I want to share my journey with you, in the hope that you might look at divorce differently if it isn't part of your life story. But also to say, that the mountain recovers, and there is always hope for those of us who have experienced this reality.
I am a Grief Counselor & Self-care coach.