You may have to be your own advocate when you are mourning.
BRAIN VERSUS HEART
Intellectual understanding surrounding death happens quickly. There are funeral and legal arrangements that need to be taken care of. If we are fortunate, we are able to take a few bereavement days off work. In many cases it seems that emotional understanding is not honoured. It is difficult to integrate the stressful multi-tasking we have created in our lives with the emotional processing our heart needs to do during mourning. The grief we feel cannot be tied up into a nice and neat little package – ready to be opened at appropriate places and times.
The type of death we are grieving may also be complicated under layers of shock or shame, trauma or stigma. This may also be complicated if we didn’t have a loss that allowed for “good bye” or “I love you”. There may be intrusive thoughts of the horrible or tragic way our loved one died and of being unable to comfort them. There may be thoughts related to many unanswered questions around timing; “If I had done X two minutes sooner or later would Y have happened?”
When you are advocating for yourself in the process of mourning (taking the time you need) and building the courage to grieve, remember these things:
- Grief is a reflection of love
- Grief is a healing process
- Grief is normal and takes as long as it takes
In their book On Grief and Grieving, Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler note, “We plan for most everything in life. We plan weeks ahead for our birthday, months ahead for our vacations, over a year ahead for our weddings. We plan decades ahead for our retirement. But death, perhaps the biggest trip of our life, usually catches us by surprise. And when we lose a loved one to that unwanted mystery of life, we are never prepared.”
What would happen if we exchanged “closure” regarding death to “openness”? We aren’t closing the door on the person who died, we are opening our heart to new feelings, memories, and appreciation for what our loved one has taught us. There is the opportunity to continue to live the life we have, meaningfully.
Allow yourself to grieve and heal, which may mean reminding others you are grieving. Listen to your mind, body and spirit & do what is right for your soul to carry on with your loved one in your heart.