When we bring up grief and death it can feel intense, uncomfortable or you just feel unable to say the right words. We need to break the stigma on grief and death and talk about it because it affects our lives so much. It is just as important as life, birth, and marriages. Grieving is HEALTHY.
Today, I am going to share with you my grief story and hopefully I can help you in some way if you too are experiencing your own.
I talk about my grief on a daily basis; I talk about him every day, because he is my calm. My brother Michael passed away 7 years ago unexpectedly and tragically. We were not prepared, but in reality, are we ever really prepared to lose someone at any time?
Can anyone actually prepare you for grief, are we fully immersed in any form of how to, or what to expect? Sure, in therapy they tell you about the ‘7 Stages of Grief’– but it feels so scripted. The way I learned, was going through it. No one will be able to show you or tell you how, the experience is within itself, RAW and OPEN.
As I was in shock at the fact that my Brother had actually died, I watched as my family broke down around me, I had to keep us all together. I took care of them as best I could, because I had to be the calm within the storm around us. I knew it was what I had to do in that moment, and it gave me a sense of control.
I had many moments too where I was broken and lost, nothing could bring him back – as hard as we tried to wake up from this nightmare, we had to carry on. He would have never wanted us to stop our lives and dwell in despair. So, we celebrated him, his life and his memory. Family and friends were kept close and came together being stronger than ever. I am very thankful for that, we chose to talk about everything, how we were feeling, shared when we felt hopeless or shared when we had a memory. When one person would have a moment, the others gathered around and we all cried together.
Everyone’s grief story is different and we feel things so differently, sharing our stories and giving support are what will help us all go through a healthy and supportive grievance. Below is a collection of things that had kept me afloat throughout my years of grief and continuously keep me calm in times of stress.
1) FALLING APART. Allowing myself to feel the emotions of anger, sadness and pain. Because these are normal feelings and crying just feels so good sometimes. These emotions are not a sign of weakness, we are human and we have all of these emotions to help us feel comfortable in our own skin. I have had plenty of moments where I heard a song that reminded me of Mike while I was driving and my eyes swelled up so much that I had to pull over, and I felt so rejuvenated – even though my eyes were puffy.
2) REMEMBER TO TALK. Talk, talk, talk and then talk more about your loved ones who have left you. Share your stories with close friends and family, good, bad and funny. Their soul lives on with their memories that you share. I talk about Mike with family, friends, my husband and my co-workers, as he WAS and STILL IS an imperative part of my life.
3) EMBRACE THE SIGNS. If you believe it or not, I could not ignore the signs. Rainbows, dragonflies, fireworks. He’s out there, watching over us and making sure we are safe and that he is heard.
4) PRACTICE GRATITUDE. “Daily Affirmations” by Melodie Beattie was on my bedside table. I journaled with that every night and it truly saved me many times. I gifted this book to a friend who had also lost her brother to a tragic event and it gave me a sense of calmness that I could share with her that.
I hope my story and the tools I shared has given you strength if you are feeling consumed within a storm,
Inhale, I am calm
Exhale, I am calm