There is no easy way to write about grief or loss. It’s such a sensitive space and so personal to everyone. As we move from late Winter into early Spring, grief is a very raw and deep subject to touch upon. And yet very very few people are left unmarked by it at some point in their life and in reality many times.
Let’s go further.
Everyone is impacted and not everyone usually wishes to ‘deal’ with it. In fact personally in my own life, it’s the first raw feeling I could recall, right in my abdomen, when I was 12 years old. I was trying to handle the news of the death of my grandmother. We were living with her for the previous 5 years. She had died after a brief stay in hospital and I couldn’t just quite believe it. I drank so much Fanta orange on the night of her funeral and I was very sick the following day. You could call it a kids’ hangover.
I buried this feeling of loss for more than 20 years.
Her presence on Earth was so important to me that I couldn’t handle her going away, at that age, and I didn’t know how. It was easier to numb it and hence, bury it.
Fast forward approx. 23 years later, in my mid-thirties, whilst receiving Bio-Energy therapy sessions during training on the diploma course. I was struck by sadness rising up in me and the memory of my nan. I re-lived the sensations I felt as a child of 12, and couldn’t believe how raw it felt within my body. We lived with her in her home on a farm for 5 years before she died, and overnight, she was gone. Pancreatic cancer. Diagnosed too late. Yet in the Bio-Energy healing sessions I felt her loss, tears running down my cheeks and I felt how much I missed her. Even though it was painful, it was paradoxically beautiful to connect and remember her again, as I knew her during my childhood.
Death of a loved one, is the most obvious of losses we face in this human existence. As the old woman in the care-home said to young Benjamin Button in the film ‘The Curious Case Benjamin Button’; that it’s only when they’re gone that we see how much they mean to us when they were alive.
Our dealing and processing of loss and grief can either remain frozen or simply be allowed to
‘ride the wave’.
One woman I heard describe so honestly on a radio interview once, how she managed her grief and loss when her partner died from cancer. She saw how grief meant, wave after another wave, of FEELING it, and not the absence of any feelings.
One question I often wonder about during the course of this healing work, is:
What STOPS us from letting ourselves move with that wave of grief?
One obvious answer is modern living and it’s busyness. We are often tricked into believing that hiding it under the carpet or suppressing it, will stop us from falling to our knees in emotional pain and hurt and anger. And who has time to do that when there are so many other things in life to attend to or are calling for our attention.
Sometimes it’s necessary to halt the grief to allow us to engage in necessary practicalities such as caring for others. But then, when it’s a safe time, the wave can be allowed in. It sounds intellectually bearable and do-able but for many people in my observances whilst working with clients (and in my own personal experiences), it’s a very suppressed emotional energy that many people prefer to push down.
This isn’t a judgement of others for this pattern. It’s simply my observance in my healing practice.
The busyness of life can give a certain distraction for a while. It’s when we don’t drop what we’re doing intermittently to give ourselves the necessary time to feel vulnerable to the emotions within and being real with ourselves, that we become stuck.
Another answer I believe is a pattern or habit to push away emotions linked to what’s perceived as being ‘negative’ or heavy. Maybe there was a parent who was depressed, maybe there was an overemotional cousin who cried at any kind of occasion and was ridiculed and teased, maybe there was a teacher who scorned and shamed a pupil for crying or showing distress, or maybe there was a parent who didn’t know how to validate or really listen to a child and express their feelings. All these types of experiences can influence how one either can connect with their emotions and be vulnerable. Or simply shove them down or away.
A client came to me with a particular issue he wished for help with. He was dealing with physical pain of his spine, neck and shoulders and was taking very strong medication. He was taking leave from his work in order to give his body time to recover.
On his second visit, I was aware whilst working over his right shoulder and scapula, of the memory of a young man who appeared to be in his early twenties. It felt like the energy of his brother. It seemed that he was no longer alive. I discussed this afterwards him and he confirmed it to be the case. His brother took his own life and this left a huge impact on him, which he visibly was very upset about. We discussed how grief can stay in the body, and if repressed for a long time, can contribute to physical issues arising in the body or ill-health.
I spoke to him about simply acknowledging the loss of his brother, and of what his brother meant to him. Loosing a family member so young, is extremely distressing, and I’ve no doubt he simply couldn’t fully cope at the time with his sudden loss. He acknowledged it was a very difficult time accepting his death, and how he died. By allowing himself to feel the intensity of loss of his brother would in time ease in it’s intensity, and every single time he could feel this loss, would dissipate the emotions that he was hiding within him, and which had no outlet previously to flow.
Acknowledging the loss of a loved one, 5 years, 10 years or even 30 years later, when it hadn’t been possible for the person to truly feel their loss at that time, is powerfully healing.
The energy of loss that a person holds is allowed to move to the surface and be felt. Feeling emotions doesn’t mean one will end up with depression or chronic anxiety. Emotion is energy felt within the amazing circuitry we have as humans that allows us to love, feel happy, sad, worried, frustrated, and angry.
Suppressing emotions over a long time can lead to issues that are often then medicated and numbed down even further. This I believe leads to further debilitation and helplessness.
Another reason for pushing away memories or emotions is spoken about by Barbara Brennan from her book Hands of Light. She speaks about these walled off experiences that we create since being a child and right throughout life. These relate to unpleasant experiences and we wish to forget them so much, that many of them remain forgotten. During an energy healing session, it only makes sense therefore that these forgotten walled off parts that have remained in the energy field or aura of the body, can become remembered. When a block is released, the person can feel the space that occurs in their body, and often either in the session, or afterwards, can feel the raw or vulnerability thereafter. It’s extremely important that these walled off experiences be processed in a compassionate, safe, and healing way.
Experiencing loss or grief arises not just through the actual death of a loved one, albeit being the most significant loss we’ll experience in our lifetime. We may loose someone through relationship break-up, or the loss of part of the body i.e via amputation or mastectomy surgery.
A woman came to me once for Bio-Energy therapy to help assist her in moving stress after having her 4th child, and needed support in juggling home life and having returned back to work. I picked up on an energy at her right side that had sadness and loss of another person. The image was of a man, that felt to me he may have passed on, but there was a strong image that he was no longer in her life.
I discussed this with her afterwards and from the description of his age and appearance, she could identify an ex-boyfriend who she once loved but he had ended their relationship very abruptly, without any clear communication or explanation. She couldn’t understand or fathom why at the time. The shock left her reeling. She’s now happily married and is raising her family, and it surprised her that she had still held onto that loss. I helped her see as best I could how loss or grief can be felt, because to her, at that time he had ‘suddenly left her life’. He died more or less to her, and this left her trying to cope with that loss at the time.
Why does it arise to the surface when it appears we’ve forgotten about that loss? In our everyday lives, we don’t consciously think about what happened 10 or 20 years ago.
But the cells of our body remembers, and like what was observed by Barbara Brennan above, we’ve forgotten about these unpleasant parts of our lives. They still remain stored in our energy field.
I believe also from my own observances in practice, that when a change in life circumstances occurs, like moving house, retirement, becoming a mother or father; that these create a shift in our energy that bolts older ‘trauma’s’ or unhealed parts of ourselves to come to the surface. Or it can simply be where someone feels a disconnection from their life and nothing feels meaningful and a dark night of the soul occurs.
In Taoism, its believed that the lungs hold onto grief and loss, if not fully felt and processed. I agree with this as generally while I work with someone and am positioned next to their shoulder or my hands are near their upper back or chest, the energy of sadness or grief can arise. The lungs are linked with the large intestine and when my hands are positioned over the pelvis and lower abdomen, older pushed-down and forgotten emotions can come to the surface here.
The energy and cellular memory kept by a woman who has experienced the loss of a baby through miscarriage or the baby died early post partum, is very strongly kept within the mother’s sacral and womb or pelvis area. Sometimes I’ve been fortunate to witness the spirit of that child come through during a healing session, and they sometimes have a message for their mother. They are often with another spirit who is in the family ancestry. Other times, the energy of loss of the baby lingers for some time around the mother’s energy field. This is often clarified by the mother after the session, and I cannot emphasise how important deep healing and recognition of the loss means for the mother.
So often this sensitive time when a mother looses a child, no matter what age the baby was in their womb, is a loss that a mother (and father) have very little recognition for. Having that time to grieve their baby and recognise that for a short time they were there gives a space to allow those deep feelings to come up and be experienced and healed.
Grieving is nothing to be ashamed about and for how long it takes and what it takes is unique to each human being. Psychiatrist Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote about the 5 stages of grieving, and published many books including ‘On Grief and Grieving’. Someone who has experienced deep loss, be it their wife, brother, child or a body part that needed to be removed for their survival, needn’t be told as to how to do it, but sometimes for the people who are around someone struggling with the death of a loved one, these stages can be helpful to understand and can ease the burden somewhat.
Yes there’s many amazing professionals out there to help, and that help can do wonders if the grief is overwhelming or debilitating to one’s survival for day to day life. My issue with modern busy living is that society pulls people into the image that getting on with it and to get back into day to day living, is a courageous survival mode to plug into in order to ‘handle grief’. If that’s true for you, that’s well and good to follow for a while. But if not, and maybe later, allowing oneself to trust their inner compass of what wishes to come up and being vulnerable to that process, in order to accept and be with the loss, is equally and if not more courageous.
Emotions intermittently need that self inflicted ‘tightened’ valve opened in order to flow and be released.
There is so much that we as humans can handle.
With Blessings and love