Lately I’ve had my emotional capacity intensely tested. I feel full on my level of sadness, grief. Yet at the same time have felt happy and content through out a lot of it. But during this time it has felt overwhelming to carry a load of emotions so heavily weighted. So I have been focusing on taking care of my wounds and showing up for what they need.
If you follow me on Instagram you likely know that my Grandma hasn’t been in great health. In January I went down for a week to be with her and to help my Grandpa. It wasn’t easy, my emotions swelled through it all. So much of me grieving the loss of her already, so much of me grieving watching my Grandpa’s heartache, and so much of me desperately wanting to cling to the present moment, because she is still here. It is so hard to watch someone you love so much suffer.
My mom watched her best friend die from cancer. To this day I haven’t been able to understand how she did it. Though I can now see more deeply what a gift it is to be there for and provide comfort to someone who is going through so much.
When we grieve, we don’t just grieve the loss of what’s past but also the loss of what’s yet to become.
My Grandma and I have always been close. Like text each other in abbreviations, have long phone calls and Facetimes kind of close. Much of that has changed as she just doesn’t have much energy. So I find myself grieving it. I find myself grieving the parts of my life that she may never see, and as I write this I feel the cathartic tears well up and prepare to release.
It’s so so heavy. And at the same time I hold so much gratitude in my heart for this special relationship with her. That I’ve not only had her as a young child but a full grown adult to learn from so deeply and fully. To know her is to love her. But I recognize that if I let myself, I would dive into that gratitude too much, in favor of not yet feeling the hard stuff. We all do this.
Holding gratitude is good, but making the vulnerable parts of you priority is important.
It’s hard to face what we don’t want to face, so we find ways to move beyond it instead of through it. As these emotions with my Grandma have snowballed over the past months I’ve also been grieving the loss of a friendship. I’ve been processing through hurt words said and coming to the realization that things weren’t always quite what I thought they were in the friendship.
It’s a lot, right? You may be going through a lot too, and I get it. I keep reminding myself, it’s completely okay to feel emotionally drained and overwhelmed. But here’s the wild thing, (and what I feel like I am being reminded of and taught again) amidst all of this deep hurt and sadness, there is also joy, happiness and excitement. There is so much other good in my life. And so in one moment I feel intensely excited and in other I can feel completely drained and sad.
It is okay to be right where you are, to take care of yourself in each wave of emotion.
This is okay. After years of healing the relationship to myself and giving myself permission to really deeply feel, I still remind myself of this. Because I know that culturally there is a tendency to want to move on and move forward instead of being right here.
So I make space. I am taking care of these really tender parts of me. Letting them be seen and heard. Not shying away from them or trying to to move forward from them.
This is how we heal. By letting the broken parts take their time in mending.
When you’re injured you put a bandaid over the injury and keep going about your business. But how much better would you heal if you actually tended, with loving attention towards your wound?
Our inner selves are no different. They will heal deeper the more attention and space we give them. The more you ask what it is they need the more you feel safe in holding and processing through them.
I found this with myself when I was healing from a mentally abusive relationship and grieving it at the same time. The more I thought “Seriously, this grief AGAIN? How am I not over this? I just want to be done.”
The more it showed up. It kept doing that until I was ready and willing to lean into it and say, “Okay, I’m here, how can I tend more to you?”
We have to be willing to listen to and honor the parts of ourselves that need our attention.
This is creating the relationship with your inner self and deeply listening and honoring what you need.
There are parts of you that need listening to. There are wounds that need tending to. And there will be happy, excited and joyful parts too.
And right now, I am making it clear that there is space for it all. I am holding close the tender more vulnerable parts of myself that need love and protection so that they may mend.
Here are 5 ways to take care of yourself when you’re hurting:
- Take 5 minutes a day to sit with the part of yourself that is sad, hurt, lonely or grieving. Let yourself know it’s okay to feel this way, that you are taking care of her, that she is seen and heard.
- Do something each day that deeply nourishes you (go for walk, connect with a friend, do yoga, whatever it is that makes you return to your center, do that!)
- Practice seeing these parts of yourself as a younger version of you. How would you take care of her? What things would you say?
- Share your feelings with someone who makes you feel safe. Allowing yourself to share can bring clarity and take the weight off of feeling like you’re in this alone. (that safe person can be someone you love or who loves you, a therapist, a coach, etc)
- Use mantras to help you stay grounded while taking care of yourself. “It is okay for me to feel my feelings.” “I am allowed to take care of myself when I am hurting.”
Do you see where there are parts of you that need tending to?
Thank you being her with this article, nourishing my soul and reassuring me that it’s okay to sit in my grief and feel every last bit of sadness when it washes over me. I lost both of my parents within 10 days of each other just before and after Christmas. They were terminally ill and I’d been caring for both of them for just over a year.
It’s true when you say the grieving process begins before the passing as you see them slipping away and predict the end of something beautiful which you both shared. Death is part of living they say, but learning to navigate the deep emotional pain of it can be a very solitary process.
Thank you for understanding and I really enjoy your instagram posts Kari.
Much love to you,
Penny, what a deep loss you are going through, I am sending you so much love. It makes my heart happy that reading this helped you feel a little less alone and gave you some more permission to be with your grief. You have had an intense journey to this point, grieving before the loss, and taking care of them through it. I truly believe our hearts are the strongest things we have and they grow so big each time we have experiences like this. I know how isolating it can feel to work through it all, and I hope this let you know that you are in good company as you navigate this emotional processing. Sending you so much love as you be with these parts of yourself and heal. Big hugs, Kari
Than you Kari for sharing your deeply felt experience and nice advices in dealing with grieving and loss of loved ones. I am in my forties and haven’t been through such loss in life yet but my parents are aged and I am conscious of the future loss of them who love me most in this life. What I learned from a book by a spiritual teacher Marshall Vian Summers “Relationships and Higer Purpose” is that the preparation is most important and to communicate what we need to communicate to our loved ones while they are still in the world. Cause once they leave the world, it will be much more difficult to communicate with them, even though it’s not impossible. I leave the url here for those who want to know more about this. Newmessage.org