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Death is inevitable, the looming reality, that the journey on Earth is temporary. Although we observe the life cycles of all living things, we are devastated by loss and fear our own mortality.
Grief is an emotion that cannot be avoided. The pain is excruciating when loved ones, including pets, transition to the other side. A piece of us dies with them. Functioning like robots, we tend to daily tasks, but our hearts are non-participants.
Psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross developed a theory that we go through five distinct stages of grief after the loss of a loved one: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. I experienced all of these, but some during the five years that my husband fought leukemia. Denial came when he was diagnosed and relapsed from a bone marrow transplant. Bargaining was in the form of prayer during his treatment. Because he was suffering without hope of recovery, I felt acceptance and relief at his transition. Two years later, when time had dulled the illness and treatment nightmares, I was angry because he had left me to navigate life’s challenges alone. The last item is depression. Over the last seven years, I monitored my mood. Was I clinically depressed? No, but I felt a dark cloud overshadowing everything. Nothing felt the same. It was as if a nerve had been snipped from my body. I felt and enjoyed with all my senses, but the intensity was missing.
There is no time limit on grief, but we can take charge to avoid being devoured. Our loved ones are in a place of unconditional love and light. We remain here because there is more learning, growing and loving to do. Regardless of your beliefs concerning perpetual life, while here, you must survive. Reality bites when the loved one’s death puts you into financial hardship. You may have a family to feed, mortgage and other debts. Nobody is going to rush in on a white charger to save you. After the initial shock, there is no time for pity parties or for sitting in the corner to suck your thumb. Moving forward is the only way to survive. The progress may be slow. You may feel like you are slogging knee deep in molasses, with tears gushing from your eyes. The path may seem dark as pitch. Keep going, if only by baby steps.
With time, the journey becomes easier. Set realistic expectations. Become friends with grief. Know that dates, songs, pictures and places may trigger waves of sorrow. Feel and deal with the emotion when it arises. Have a good cry. When the intensity recedes, continue your healing journey.
Love and pamper yourself. Work on mind, body and spirit health. Stay open for signs from your loved ones. I experienced electronic irregularities, coins, feathers, scents, songs on the radio, random memories, a chill, tummy blips, butterflies, dragonflies, birds and ringing bells. Repeating numbers may be messages from the angels. Multiple fours appear to me several times a day. They are on the clock, computer, license plates, receipts and car odometer. Other repeating numbers include my birthday and 1111. Your loved ones reach across the veil to give you comfort and support. Be open to their love. Their vibration is higher than ours. Raise yours to meet them. Deep in sorrow, you will miss the messages.
Grief hurts and is merciless. Struggle through the void. Find joy and be grateful. Beauty surrounds. Open your heart to receive the love.
Do you suffer from headaches or sore back, shoulders, neck legs, knees? If yes, your body may be warning you of too much stress in our daily life. If unheeded, serious illness may result.
Recently, I experienced a pulled muscle in the right buttock, pain in the knee and down the leg to my ankle. Stretching in a pool for two weeks solved the problems, until I returned home from vacation. The next day, on my morning walk, I asked my body what it was trying to tell me. Do not X this blog because it is too weird. Stick around for the answer. It may save you months of physical therapy.
The answer was to literally hang loose. I concentrated on relaxing my muscles as I walked. I started in the face and traveled to the jaw, neck, shoulders, back, buttocks, legs and feet. Relief was immediate.
Unaware that we carry concerns in our bodies, we mask pain with drugs and alcohol, instead of getting to the roots of the problems. Learn to let go of what you cannot change. Act on those you can change. We can improve ourselves, but cannot dictate the lives of others, including adult children. Each has a unique path of learning and growth.
Exercise and relaxation cure many ills. Many hit the gym, jog, walk and/or participate in a sport, but forget that the body needs to recover. Close your eyes and let every muscle relax. Listen to your body. It knows what it needs to stay healthy.
Life is magical. Enjoy!
To blame your circumstances on everyone else is an easy way to relieve guilt. Life deals cards that are beyond your control, but you decide how they are played. Loss of job, home or person can be devastating. The choice is yours to curl up in a fetal position or rise from the ashes.
Everyone has a story. We all get hurt. Bend like a willow or snap like an immovable oak. Open to change and be accountable. Learn from mistakes and mishaps. Playing the blame game prohibits progress.
Be aware of the atrocities and focus on the beauty of this planet. Notice when someone is kind, including small, courteous gestures. Too often we think the news is a representation of the entire world.
Stand up! Be accountable for your actions! Playing the victim grows old. Know that you are worthy with a lot to give. Reach out and offer a helping hand. Your world will be a better place.
Home should be a place of peace and harmony, a plug to recharge depleted batteries. World’s strife should stay on the doorstep with the door barred. We should be aware and compassionate but learn to let go of situations beyond our control.
Too often we take home the day’s problems, turn on the news and escalate our stress and anxiety. Without realizing it, we take out our frustrations on those we love the most. Our anger flares and we say things that we would never say to a stranger or colleague. An insignificant issue can be the match that starts a raging inferno.
Suggestions for maintaining a happy home:
- Watch news in the morning when rested
- Discuss inappropriate behaviors. Do not resort to name calling.
- Ignore trivial annoying habits and accept them as part of the person
- Say “I love you” often. I read something fifty years ago that the word money is used more in a home than the word love. We can turn that around in our homes.
- Sleep eight hours per night.
- Eat nutritious meals with the family. Lines of communication open around the dinner table.
Peace and harmony are lofty goals in a bustling household with crazy schedules, but worth the effort. We have the power to change. World peace begins at home.