The pain of adapting to life without a loved one is real but natural. The whole routine of your life is upset and it is not easy to readjust. This is a difficult time but as a result, your life will change in ways you can’t imagine at the time.

My mother has recently died. My son’s response that ‘Nana had gone to a higher rank’ reflected our opinion too. We grieved for her in different ways. She lived with me for almost fifty years.

I am lucky I had the opportunity to really know my mother. She did so much for me and was the centre of my household. Her absence is noticed in so many ways. No one places fresh garden flowers on my desk, anymore. She always ‘said it with flowers’.

Mum taught us love and laughter, and I now see that her greatest gift to me was that of time. I couldn’t have done so many studies without her help and support.

Grief is never easy. It is an ongoing process encompassing many emotions — regret, remorse and loss.

The formal stages of grief are firstly denial, when we can’t believe what has happened. The second stage is anger, when we want to hit out at someone or something (why me?) The third stage is bargaining (if only I can … till… I will. . .).The fourth stage is depression and the fifth, serene, stage is acceptance.

The emotional pain has an individual timing but it usually takes about two years for the ache in your heart to gradually subside. It never completely goes but becomes less intense with the passage of time. There will always be moments when a memory will be triggered and you find tears streaming down your face.

‘Letting go’ has to be learnt many times in our lives. We must let go of the past, including its mistakes (although we call them opportunities).Throughout our lives we have to learn to deal with grief. We must leave our mothers to go to kindergarten, we must leave the support of our school to go to work. We must say goodbye to our youth. All this sorrow has to be accepted as part of gaining maturity. If we are successful guardians, we allow this process in our children without pain or guilt.

In acupuncture, the channel of chi energy which is out of balance is the metal meridian. This controls all crying, weeping and sobbing. Yin and yang must be balanced if people are having difficulty overcoming their grief.

Star-of-Bethlehem (a Bach Flower remedy) helps immeasurably when your emotions become embarrassing to you. Homeopathically, there are many choices, but you need an expert to work them out.

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