Coping with loss when it all feels too much

A month away from the anniversary of losing my Mum (suddenly to a stroke), her presence in my thoughts, dreams and daily life is more obvious than it has been in a long time. Just when I thought I was moving forward and healing, I felt a regression in my emotion.

Of course I have grieved and healed. I am nowhere near the place I was a year ago, and realise that I am learning to cope with the emotional roller coaster a lot better every day. Thank goodness for meditation and my mountain bike. The problem was that I wasn’t able to  exercise regularly because of a virus that  grounded me on and off, for  6 weeks. Perhaps that heightened my emotion, though I  listened to my body when it told me to rest. What a challenge that was!

At 10 in the evening,  2 weeks ago the phone rang. I saw the callers name displayed on my phone and felt a rock drop within me. It was the husband of one of my best friends, calling to tell me that my friend, his beautiful wife, had lost her fight with kidney cancer after an incredible 4 year battle. Leaving behind 3 teenage boys and her husband that had been her soul mate for  26 years.

Living remotely, a 17 hour drive from the city  where my friend lived, I only saw her  3 or 4 times a year over the past 38 months. I knew things weren’t working in her favour, I just didn’t want to believe that she wouldn’t survive. She had been very present in my thoughts the week before that 10pm phone call and I had a vivid dream about her, that wasn’t pleasant.

The news of her passing wasn’t unexpected but it left me reeling.  I wanted to believe she would survive, so I had never really accepted that she would die. She was one of the strongest people I have ever known.
Relieved that she is no longer suffering, I am also grieving the loss of an incredible friend who was a remarkable woman that enriched lives.

We went to Uni together and have been friends through the highs and lows of life for 27 years. She packed her life full of the fun stuff. Making adventures happen with her family and friends and living in the moment whenever possible. It was this friend that introduced me to meditation.

What I have learnt through all of the grief, is that we have to learn to listen to our body. No one is exempt from this. If you are fatigued. Rest. If you are sad, go with it. Bottling up emotion is very damaging, it eats away at your insides bit by bit.

Mediation on coping with loss (I use Yogaglo for guided meditation) has worked well for me and allowing myself to feel sad, while trying not to cling on to the memories. To keep those memories but to learn to let go and for me, to accept that two really important people in my life are no longer present (in the physical sense).

I miss my friend immeasurably and will think of her, as I do my my mum, every day. I meditate daily, sometimes just for 5 minutes and this is my greatest coping mechanism (you can read my blog on meditation here).

Every cloud has a silver lining (read about it here) and you can find the silver every time. For me, I  got to visit my hometown unexpectedly (for my friends funeral) and  spent time with family and friends I would otherwise only be I touch with remotely.

The loss of my friend is devastating but I will be influenced by her in my daily life and will be forever grateful that we had a wonderful friendship for such a long time. Her legacy will live on through her family and those that were lucky enough to have known her.

Grief is an inevitable part of life and we all deal with it in different ways. Listen to your body and find the silver lining. Oh and meditation works wonders, try it for yourself.

I’d love to hear from you. What have you done to help you through difficult times? Share your comment in the comment box, it might help someone find the silver lining.

 

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