Discover is education and increasing personal awareness about the universality of grief and the individual loss.

Top Ten Steps for Grief

Ten Actionable Steps Through Grief

Grief is work. Moving through grief means taking the necessary steps to reclaim your changed life in its new formation.

I didn’t wake up the day after my husband Dave died and know which way to go, who I was or what the next days, weeks and months would bring. I was sick, tired and broken. I was alone. Because I was knowledgeable about grief, hospice, and all the theories, the outside world could see me as strong and able. Ironically, that may have made me feel even more alone. But I was strong. I am strong. And it was difficult still. Read more

Grief mind body spirit

The Holistic Journey Through Grief

The work of grief is the work of life.  It is a holistic journey.

Mind. Body. Spirit.

Grief is universal. How far you walk along the grief journey is up to you as an individual. Superficially, grief is about accepting or assimilating the change of loss. Yes, that’s really big on its own! Grief is the transition. That’s often enough for most people: wrapping your heart and your mind around the emptiness. Yet, for many, the longing persists to understand more deeply about the loss that won’t go away.

Mind is one step of grief.

If standing in loss becomes your badge for life, grief becomes stuck and acknowledged, but not a journey. However, when you examine and share the heartbreak of loss and change, grief fades away to an often positive path that opens ahead.

Deeper work into grief is about the change, the transformation that occurs during the examination of that relationship for which you loved and lost, its impact on who you are today, how you operate in the world now and the so-called meaning of life. This is the topic of discussions, books, poetry, philosophers and movies since time began!

Examination comes from Reading. Writing. Thinking. Talking.

Body is one step of grief.

Transformation is about self-love. Understanding. Accepting not only the loss, but all the crevices of humans being. Grief comes in waves of feelings and memories for behaviors, regrets, gratitudes, criticisms, and all the other emotions. Grief is stored in the mind, body, and heart. Past, present and future collide.

Self-love appears in how we care for (or don’t care for) our body. Where does grief land in your body? And how much have you carried with you for long before this loss? Since mind and body are inextricably woven, loving attention to your mental or physical health will elevate both.

Feeling means to Listen. Breathe. Notice. Release.

Spirit is one step of grief.

Even deeper comes the ultimate work that falls under the heading of faith, meditation, spirituality, God.

What happens after one dies and how you stay connected to your loved one cannot be ignored. Religion, God, The Universe, Life Force, Afterlife… in grief, one critical component is to confront your deep held beliefs. Do your beliefs match up to the feelings and thoughts of your grief experience right now?

How can you look at loss without questions about the afterlife? It is impossible. Not having answers for one’s self about spirit can be an area of stuck grief. What you know to be “right” is deeply and profoundly personal. Whether through religions, rituals, traditions, or philosophy, you will meet this path on the grief journey. You may not be able to articulate or explain this part of your journey fully as the spiritual path is not necessarily an intellectual exercise.

Experience the stillness of Being. Knowing. Embracing. Expanding.

Mind. Body. Spirit.

Nobody wants to hear that grief is work. Who willingly takes on such potential angst, examination and pain? Yet, all your angst, examination and pain are already inherent in the process of your loss that is known as grief.  Choosing to discover what you need to know about grief consciously will make the process have purpose and create meaning out of loss and propel you forward into your best life. Death is a catalyst of change thrust upon you.

The order and aspect for your Mind-Body-Spirit work of grief —what makes itself known to you— varies. If you come to your loss with deep faith, this may sustain you, or could rock your world when you question the unfairness of loss. If your health has degraded significantly, your first step may be to acknowledge your own bodily needs for living. Perhaps you are someone who feels so much, you can’t even think about the loss, much less assimilate the very real changes happening around you. Grief is individual.

Work is a dirty four letter word. We reject it. We avoid it. We love to hate it. But when you think about it, work brings accomplishment, self-esteem, value and even community into our lives.

We do get through grief when we work at it, consciously. Grief doesn’t resolve on its own no matter how much time passes. You never forget the loss, the person for whom you mourn. Getting through is never about forgetting; the other side of grief is inclusive. Feeling great is not a betrayal, but a testament to love: The love for the one you miss and the love that was given to you.

Grief isn’t easy. Grief isn’t pretty.  But neither is what you are experiencing right now. As you choose to “do something” about your grief, which is your work, you walk your path to a new wholeness. Your definition for how you are whole is likely to change. But it may surprise you to find that on the other side of grief you have become more through loss rather than become less when Navigating Grief.

Navingating Grief Through Time

Grief in Time

Counting Days, Weeks, Months and Years of Grief

Time is one of the most difficult concepts of sorting through “what’s normal?” in grief. Words like “move on,” “get over it,” and “it’s been long enough now,” often come as unwanted advice related to the speaker’s sense of grief in time. For the bereaved, time is marked by the calendar – seasons, last year, anniversaries, birthdays, holidays, and special events. Grief swells not only during milestone dates for the loved one, but also with the passage of dates for the closest people in his or her life, such as your own birthday. No wonder that the pain of grief doesn’t seem to end in the years following a significant loss. There are always new dated reminders through time. Each one is counted: the first, the second, and on and on.

BC and AD

If you are a parent, you may be familiar with the reference phrase BC, “Before Child.” The change and transition into parenting is marked by the day you bring home your new life. What you could do as an adult couple in terms of freedom to move at will is suddenly gone. When life gets hectic or overwhelmed by parenting activities, or spontaneity is overruled by responsibility, then “Before Child” is the reference. You’ve had to adjust your mind to consider the needs of a dependent being. The recognition of that change and the secret code among the parents who know is “BC” – how you could behave before child: there was a time when life was different… Often noted in lightheartedness, nevertheless, BC is recognition of a major change in the lives of the entire family.

The same may hold true for you in your loss with the phrase AD “After Death.” You mark time based on “since my loved one died.” Now instead of the welcomed or chosen change this one is thrust upon you. As time marches forward the marker is After Death. Time is about what is missing, who can’t enjoy, he or she would have liked… Often this too is a secret code among those who know deep loss. But rather than in a lighthearted fashion, loss is heavyhearted. The impact of this change and the subsequent transition is just as huge and life-changing as a birth. But in American society, generally speaking, there is little patience for death. There is little patience to speak of it, to mourn for long periods or to recognize the major change a death creates for those left behind.

With birth comes a child, tangible proof to tell us change continues. In death there is emptiness, a void. Death is “out of sight, out of mind” to the outside world. Yet, for the bereaved, reminders are all around.

So how long do you grieve?

Time is in the eye of the beholder. There is active grief – from moment of loss to public mourning to a place of deep, personal adaptation – and there is life long grief, that is, loss – the continued gratitude or acknowledgement for having known your loved one and the fleeting bittersweet memories of wishing he or she was here. How long you might experience active grief is related to the many factors of your individual relationship, circumstances, and chosen path to “do something” about grief, whether on your own or in support programs. Your time on grief might also have to do with your own personal makeup and philosophy as well, including earliest memories of death. The time of active grief does differ for everyone, even people who grieve the same loss. This point alone can be the friction among family members about the way one grieves.

The societal gold standard that grief lasts one year is based on the calendar and traditions: walking the path through each and every first since. A year marks four full seasons of personal space to feel and live the transition for what was, to what is. Religious or family ceremonies often recognize the one year passage. Yet, widows and widowers often discover an unexpected “second year is tougher” reality. Child loss can leave an open wound for many years. There are studies and anecdotes to support that rather than a year, the bereaved themselves report two to five years as a more reality-based adjustment time period. Even so, many people note resiliency in the face of loss in the six months to the year marker. Complicated or prolonged grief over long periods, including severe depression, is diagnosed for less than 20% of people (on the high end), with 10-15 % more likely. Grief spills out as a complexity of accumulated past and present emotions. How do these varied responses help you view your sense of what’s normal?

That leaves a wide range of “normal” time of grief, that is, how long you respond to your loss.

Not everyone needs nor wants help during the time of  active grief. However, short term or long term community and/or private support is often a great relief as it underscores just how normal your grief and feelings of loss might be, months and even years later. Trying to assign a time period to grief and loss only adds one more “should” to your list of getting “over it.” The real questions are: are you coping better over time (in spite of the pain and sorrow)?  Are you finding outlets so your grief is dynamic, rather than static? Are you noticing increasing moments of happiness (or is it all grief, all the time?)? Are you healthy or is your body taking on the grief unknowingly? On the roller coaster of loss and time, the majority of people experience lessening of the pain and associations of loss across the timeline. If your level or sorrow and pain or ability to function does not change or actually increases since the death of  your loved one, seeking out the support of a professional grief coach or therapist can provide you an objective viewpoint.

You might be surprised to know that there are many people who worry about if they are getting over the loss too fast as those who think they might be taking too long (or someone else tells them they are taking too long.) Here is where you can check in with yourself. What do you think? Do you want to be in a different place in life since your loss? Are you actually avoiding any feelings instead of grieving?  Your instinct about whether you have grieved “long enough” or still have “more grieving to do” is usually right on. First, just listen. Listen deeply. How much time it takes to adapt to this major change in your life is subjective. After all, you are the expert on your grief.

What’s your story? Are you taking long enough time to grieve, or are you in in  a hurry? What expectations do you or others around you offer about how much time grief, mourning and loss lasts?  If you were (are) a caregiver before the loss, has the time of illness affected your sense of how long you’ve grieved?

 

10 Ways to Well-Being After Loss

Being in Well-Being

How is your health since your personal journey into grief and loss? Most likely, your grief shows up in your body as well as your mind. Have you noticed? Or do you ignore this too and make excuses for feeling lousy? Age, out of shape, no time, costs too much, I’m just not worthy without my loved one, I will when (fill in the blank)…

Stop for a moment right now and take inventory*:

  • Is your sleep restful?
  • Do your muscles have aches and pains?
  • Are you finding yourself in the doctor’s office more often with less answers? Read more

How to STOP Breathing

STOP! Really. S-T-O-P.

Stop. Take three breaths and smile. Observe, bring awareness into your surroundings and being. Proceed with kindness. This advice from author Rudolph E. Tanzi, Super Brain: Unleashing the Explosive Power of Your Mind to Maximize Health, Happiness, and Spiritual Well-Being, just might change your life.

Breathe. Being present. Gratitude. Mindfulness. These buzz words are the answers to happiness according to many thought leaders, mediators and spiritual specialists. Can we possibly breathe our way to feel better? Can we breathe our way through caregiving overwhelm and the grief which accompanies the death of our loved ones?

Read more

20 Pounds of Grief

Some people can’t eat. Others may take comfort and refuge in food. Under stress, when grief hits, which road do you take? Your hunger may wax and wane with the phases of the moon. After all, appetite changes are in the list for Is My Grief Normal? 20 pounds of your grief might be up, down or the yo-yo between as you battle the scale along with your grief.

Read more

Children’s Grief Awareness Day

One out of 20 children will experience the death of a parent before they graduate from high school, while one out of every seven children will face the death of someone close to them.

Who takes care of the children when adults grieve? Sometimes, no one. It is easy to think that children are resilient, and maybe don’t feel the deep loss because they aren’t showing any signs, or have seem to be doing fine. It may be that you don’t have the energy to focus on more than getting through the day yourself. Perhaps they say they are OK because your children don’t want to burden you. Read more

The Real Cost of Grief

The Real Cost of Grief

Grief appears as all sorts of emotions, and whether acknowledged it or not, may be actively defining who you are in the world right now. When you repeat the same thoughts without moving through to answers or a new perspective, grief makes you stuck. How many of these statements or questions below have you known at one time or another since your loss? Read more