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  • Writer's pictureJennifer Van Uffelen

Notes about grief

Updated: Nov 17, 2022

16th September 2022

Dear reader,

As we say goodbye to the summer (in Ireland), I feel ready to release some parts of my grief, some big, small, ugly and beautiful.

When you can look back at a situation,

it means you're not in the middle of it anymore!

In a conversation with a friend this summer, I was reflecting back on my struggle navigating some difficult conversations the year before. Being able to put in perspective, and talking about my learning, meant that I had moved on in a way. That realisation alone felt like such a release and reminded me of some of my teachings.

When there is turmoil in your life and you are swept away by big feelings, remember this, there's no right way to handle the unexpected. When I lost my dad over a year ago, my first impulse was not to hurry my way home to Belgium to take care of everything. This was a new feeling! My own home was where I wanted to stay, safe in my own bubble, grounded in my surroundings with my partner with time to process. Sometimes time runs out. So, instead the ground was shaky, I got on a plane by myself and weeks went by before I knew it.

Some words I would offer my grieving self:

* Make only urgent time-bound decisions and let everything else wait.

* Time shared with people who loved your loved one nourishes you most, do as much of this as you can.

* It is ok to not be sad all the time, the pain is big and you don't have to show everyone or let it in all at once.

* Be brave to spend time alone to feel the hurt, you are able to hold yourself when you let go.

* The intensity of some of your tears will surprise you, let yourself be held by someone who feels safe.

* Your rational mind is keeping you safe in unknown territory, you don't have to do everything right.

* You will give yourself time to feel when you remind yourself to let your heart speak.

* Dwell on happy memories, you will discover new parts of your loved one from others and yourself.

* Other parts of your life and relationships will be impacted, you will find a way through the changes.

* Give yourself more of what you need, and then some more.

* You've got this! Even when you feel that you don't.

“Grief is love's souvenir. It's our proof that we once loved.

Grief is the receipt we wave in the air that says to the world:

Look! Love was once mine." - Glennon Doyle

Grief doesn't have to be a huge justified loss. Feelings don't need justification, they need tenderness and compassion. Moving to a new place can mean a loss of your beloved home or favorite place to sit or walk. Starting an exciting new career can mean a loss of your day to day connections. Arriving in a new season can mean a strong craving for the sun to keep lighting up your evening strolls. Creating new habits can mean that some relationships don't hold the same space anymore.

Wherever there is change in your life, feelings of grief might resurface. Saying yes to one thing, usually means letting go of another and every size of your grief is valid. The big ugly whaling or the small niggle in your throat. We don't have to be fully healed to show up in the world, rather we can honour our healing while we take up space. We can make some of our mourning beautiful and dwell on the gratitude of what was.

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