Big breath in….. and here we go as I get back on the horse….
Well, my dear mum passed away peacefully at the grand old age of 94.
On the one hand, I had been expecting it. She went into hospital with a fracture and for someone that age, going into hospital, it’s not that unusual for them not to come out.
On the other hand, after being in hospital over a month, and being well enough in herself, it all went downhill quite rapidly. In the end, her death came quickly.
And I was there with her at the end when she died. Who knows if that was a good or bad thing?
In The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying by Sogyal Rinpoche which I read many years ago, I always remember that Rinpoche said that it is better for the soul to pass without anyone there.
I reckoned that if she/her soul needed to be on its/her own when she died, somehow the situation would have manifested itself for all of us to be out of the room when she passed.
And after all of the funeral, and other rites of passage, what then?
With any passing or life change, it does leave a gap.
I imagine that this is the same for anyone who goes through a death, separation, divorce, a child leaving home, illness. There is a grieving process for what has gone, what you wish had been different, hopes and wishes for the future, and things are just… well, different.
Who am I now? What do I do now? Will I be the same person? Will I still be able to do what I do?
Emotionally, it’s very much about the ebbs and flows.
How we respond to grief
I don’t remember as much about my grief when my dad died.
At the time I was working in a corporate environment and I do remember having to go to certain meetings, wanting to burst out crying but having to hold it in (would you want to invest money with someone who was a blubbering mess??!).
Also, I remember completely overreacting and getting upset at certain situations, which was my way of grieving and letting the emotion out.
This time, I am definitely being gentler with myself. Letting the emotion out when I need to, being quiet when I need to. And going gently with my work, not pushing too hard.
A couple of months back, I ran my Emotional Freedom Technique Level* 2 Training weekend, which takes place over 3 consecutive days.
Before doing this, I definitely did have some anxiety about whether I could do this, whether I could hold the energy of the group, would I be a blubbering mess?
I did some tapping* on this, and I came to the point where I knew that whatever happened, I was with a really warm, caring, supportive group of women. And to trust that it would be ok. Happily, it was a great weekend.
Showing emotion allows us to be vulnerable, which doesn’t always come naturally.
During one of my webinars with students, one of them had an ‘aha’ moment, when I was talking about how I was with the whole grief and ‘grieving’ thing.
That is that EFT tapping is very much about shifting stuff that is trapped or not moving, or if you want to process something more quickly.
It doesn’t mean that you stop feeling emotion. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel emotion (well, you would be human, but it would be a bit odd).
And with this particular process of grieving for my mum, I have been allowing the emotions to come when they need to. So, if I need to cry, well then I just go for it. And when I’m exhausted and feel like I’ve been hit by a truck, I rest and take the time I need.
When I need support, I look for it and get what I need.
I certainly don’t want to rush my grief thing, or to process the emotions more quickly.
It just doesn’t feel right in this instance. I am allowing myself to move through it slowly and gently. It just feels like the right thing to do at the moment.
From the perspective now of a number of months after the event, I can see that death is a time for great healing as EVERYTHING comes up to be healed.
Not only are you dealing with the loss but also, things that maybe could have been better about the relationship. And while it is all incredibly painful, it gives me hope for the future. Because looking at and clearing this gives a great opportunity for growth.
One of the lovely things that comes out of the death of a loved one, is all of your friends and supporters, some of whom you may not have seen for a long time, come crawling out of the woodwork.
Recently, I got to catch up with a very old friend who I had not seen for a while.
We had a real, honest discussion. And he gave me some great advice that sometimes the only help that you can give to someone is in a non-verbal way.
I just found it so useful, as there are people and situations that I just feel I don’t have the capacity at the moment to take on. I’m not able to be with these people in person, but maybe helping in a non-verbal, non-present way could be the way for me to go.
And at this time, it is even more important than ever to keep tuning in to whatever it is that gives us joy, take as much time as we need to before getting back on the horse and remember that everyone is different and will move through this at their own pace.
I still have a lot to figure out, and what to do with that gap, so I am still a gentle work in progress.
Go gently my friends.
*Emotional freedom technique, also known as tapping, is a process where you tap on acupressure points as a way to release stress, anxiety and negative beliefs.