Any one who has ever lost someone will tell you that in the beginning there is no relief from their grief. Every day tasks of survival like eating and sleeping are compromised. The body reacts in a way that it shuts down and feelings of numbness and disbelief are prominent and every day occurrences.
The mind is over shadowed with brain fog and feelings of despair and sorrow. The task of thinking and completing a simple chore can be very overwhelming and create more anxiety and angst. Simply going to the supermarket to buy bread and milk can be an obstacle challenge as you try to avoid making eye contact with people in fear they may ask how your day has been or worst case scenario you bump into someone you know.
Weekends and night times can be the loneliest time for those who grieve. As the world prepares to sleep your mind is racing and the isolation and burden of grief plagues you. It is in the silence where you feel the most sorrow! Some nights you may re-live the death in your nightmares and falling asleep can terrify you. This is your brain trying to make sense of a sense-less death – It too shall pass.
For some of us going back to the workforce can be a relief from your grief. The distraction of work can occupy your time and mind with mundane ‘non grief’ tasks. Thus, many people are forced to early into the work force due to financial stressors. This too can burden us as we feel that society is not accommodating to our grief and employers are neglectful in their role in supporting us. Having someone you can confide in at work can be useful or using your sick leave as ‘mental health’ days can alleviate the burden of facing others when you are not ready too.
Friendly invites from friends, peers and loved ones can also create great stress. Grievers feel a need to ‘hibernate’ to help self-regulate their emotions. The fear of having to eat dinner with people and interact outside of your comfort zone is very daunting. The reality is our taste buds are in hiatus and the taste of food is irreverent for us right now. People mean well but declining a friendly invite is a way of reminding the ones who love us that we are too vulnerable right now.
Resuming life after death has bestowed us is not like picking up a favorite book and simply reading on from where we last left. The book of life has now had a few pages torn right from it, it has altered and the chapter now has a different ending.
The only relief from grief one may experience is re-visiting memories of better days in your mind’s eye. There is no magic potion that will change your circumstances other than acceptance and feeling the pain. Death mimics that moment in life when you discover that Santa Claus and the tooth fairy are not real. That feeling in your gut when you realise that a joyous moment has forever been taken away from you. Grief is horrible, it reveals you and becomes part of your being.
Whether you are at the beginning, in the midst or ‘re-adjusting’ after loss remind yourself that the missing part of your jigsaw puzzle will present itself in due time. Someday you may awake and feel that the relief you were seeking was the fact that your loved one did exist and you are now the ‘custodian’ of their memory. This reminder that your duty of care now is keeping them alive within you may enable you to live a fuller and holistic life as a result. You are fortunate to have the power of choice and may your ‘grief relief’ be in knowing that you play a pivotal role in maintaining a relationship with your loved one through your very own existence . Only YOU can dictate what feels right for you; You are the keeper of your loved one’s memory.