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Living Grief

~The understanding of grief...

Everyone goes through grief. Some might not even know it. Others think it’s a bit shaming to be grieving. Well I for one want to let you know that grief is real. Grief doesn’t have to be from someone dying, but can be from losing yourself, losing a loved one, a job and more. I’m talking about the type of grief that is alive, living.

I was in an accident over 2 years ago and I will not be the same. I suffered a severe concussion, had to learn how to walk, talk and basically read again through healing. I still sometimes have a slur and stutter if I am lacking in sleep or nutrition. From the day of my accident I went through the stages of grief in no particular order and some stages I went through more than once. The process was painful, ongoing and lead to my anxiety, depression and on-going question of why? I wondered why it happened to me and thought something was wrong with me. I self blamed. I blamed myself for going biking that day instead of taking the bus. I blamed myself for taking a safe route instead and crossing the street, after shoulder checking. I just blamed. I was stuck in self denial, pain and sadness. Then came the questions of wanting to be who I was before the accident. I wanted to run 15Km again around the lake and Stanley park. I wanted to be able to walk my dog. I wanted to just be, as my mother puts it, the energizer bunny that keeps on going. I had loads of energy, I was an AME (CAT M), Aircraft maintenance engineer (category M for maintenance). Yeah, I fixed planes and I did it for eight years and I can say I had more years ahead of me. Now I physically can not do those things. I am not that energetic person who I used to be and I can not go back to a high labour-intensive job. Yes, I was sad. Yes, I was angry and yes this is still an on-going realization on how I can not do the things I used to do, but, I am ok. I am alive and I could have died. I am a different person then who I used to be. Now I try to focus on the things I can do, not what I used to be able to do. I have more awareness of my body, my self and others. I have more compassion, more empathy and more self care. I see myself as a healer, a lover, a caring compassionate person who can really thrive on deep conversations. Who loves to read and loves to write. I love connecting with others and to let them know we are all doing our best. We are not alone and we only know what we know. From there I say let’s talk more. Let’s talk more about the things we don’t. Let’s talk about grief.

Grief is a natural response to loss. “Grief is the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior.” Loss does not necessarily mean a death.

There are no “rules” to grieve nor is there a be all end all way or response. There is only you, your uniqueness and your brilliance. The amazing part is that you know you and how you grieve is how you grieve. Some crack jokes, because the pain is unbearable. Some hide away to be with the pain and some can’t stand to be alone with it. Sometimes that pain can be unbearable to the point where you have no idea where to start. Its overwhelming to the point of numbness and effecting your life. That's where I come in or another person who may be able to help, but please do not let the grief be silent and turn into shame. Shame lives in the silence and it's up to you to shed light on your pain and go with it, through it and be with it. As long as it’s not taking over your life to the point you're questioning your life. That is where you call for help, call the people who care and want to help you. Your friends, family, professionals or crisis call center. This is only to help you see that there are some commonalities, normalities and it’s okay to grieve. There are no steps, no time limits, just a guide to help broaden your knowledge on the subject and shed light on some coping skills that could help.

Some common losses that can cause Grief

  • A relationship

  • Losing a job

  • Loss of financial stability

  • A miscarriage

  • Death of a loved one/pet

  • Loss of a cherished dream

  • A loved one’s serious illness

Stages of Grief: Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s famous five stages

1. Denial

A defense reaction to shock. “This isn’t happening, this can’t be happening”

2. Anger

The intense emotion is deflected from our vulnerable core, redirected and expressed instead as anger (to anyone). “why me?”

3. Bargaining

A need to regain control. “If only we…”, “what if”

4. Depression

A reaction to practical implications relating to the loss or perhaps more private. Some symptoms; withdraw from life, feel numb, live in a fog, and not want to get out of bed. “what’s the point of going on?”

5. Acceptance

Withdrawal and calm. Resisting grief will only prolong the natural process of healing.

Coping: To help yourself through this process, there are some helpful things you can do: grief counseling is helpful, support groups, bereavement groups, friends and family to help work through unresolved grief. Could be as simple as a hug or an open ear.

Other ways include: Taking care of yourself…

  • Express yourself. ... (by journaling, screaming into a pillow, running in place, punch a pillow – be sure to not harm yourself)

  • Allow yourself to feel sad. ... (let your emotions run through, cry if needed)

  • Keep your routine up. ... (keeping a routine going can instill a sense of purpose and acknowledgment)

  • Sleep. ... (helps with healing the body)

  • Eat healthily. ... (Some food can affect your mind, body and mood)

  • Avoid things that "numb" the pain, such as alcohol... (any altering intakes, except if prescribed by a doctor)

Everyone Grieves differently and at different times. There is no time line on grief. There is no ‘right’ way to grieve either.

Talk it out, I am here.

Love more, fear less.

Veronica B. Chase


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