Grief isn’t a matter of if, it is a matter of when. In life we will all at some stage face a layer of grief however deep your loss may be, the inevitability of life is the certainty of death. This may seem grim, or too dark to think about, but what if we shifted this perspective and surrendered to the notion that grief is love. When someone close to us passes away they say it takes time. It takes time to move through the stages of grief. Like anyone who has faced great loss, I think we can all confirm it does take time, but there is no linear timeline of ‘stages’. You do not miraculously move through 7 particular stages and come out the other side. You learn to live with the knowledge that this person is no longer physically here, it hurts viscerally at times where the pain can seem unbearable, and as time goes on you somehow learn to grow around this pain. From personal experience, something that has helped me immensely to navigate the loss of my beautiful fiance is journaling.
At first the idea of putting pen to paper was exhausting, just waking up in the morning was a feat in itself!
Also… What was I to write?
But, as it was recommended to me by a few different grief counselors, along with the grief tool books I was reading to try to help myself find some hope of life again, I decided to put pen to paper and give it a crack. As someone who had never journaled before it felt very foreign to sit and write down my thoughts, especially in a time where my head was so clouded I couldn’t tell you what day of the week it was. But I set myself this one small task to try to write at least one page. I had a lovely notebook and new pens, I made a cup of tea in my favourite mug, lit a candle for my darling Lachie, put on our wedding songs and wrote three words…
'I miss you…’
With this I was balling and next thing I knew, I had written 5 pages.
It truly was a release.
Since that day I have been journaling every day. I take my little notebook with me wherever I am traveling, whether it be to a friends for the weekend, visiting family, or an overseas trip. I make sure I set aside time each day to write out whatever comes to me. I have found through this daily practice I now have a deep gratitude for my life, a gratitude I never thought imaginable after my world was flipped upside down. The pain, the loss, the love, the beauty, my connections with everyone that comes into my life, every intricate lesson I am learning, I truly am grateful. It is also one of my many ways of being able to communicate with Lachie. I write to him each day, and this makes me feel so deeply connected to him in a way I need to keep moving forward in this life.
By having a ritual each morning of using my favourite mug and making myself a tea, the way Lachie would for me every day, then lighting a beautifully scented calming candle and playing our music, I ground myself for the day and it brings me to the present moment. A moment where I realise how beautiful these simple tasks are in my ritual but how lucky I am to experience them.
If you are unsure where to start with journaling, perhaps do these small things to get you started;
- Find a lovely space inside your home where you feel safe, or maybe outside in a quiet spot in nature where you can unwind and just be you, not distracted by media or anyone else,
- Buy a beautiful mug and candle, something that is purely for you and may bring you a little bit of joy in the knowledge that these objects were handcrafted individually just for you,
- Choose a playlist that makes you feel calm and puts a smile on your face,
- Dedicate this time to yourself each day, even if it is just for 10 minutes a day.
By bringing this simple ritual into my life I have found such strong grounding and clarity. I am at peace in my own company, well to be honest, I have always been quite independent, but now I crave my own company because I just simply love it! I feel hopeful for the future and I see the beauty in what is around me in the present.
I hope with time and by implementing this daily ritual into your life you too will feel peaceful and connected within yourself.
I will finish with this today, something to remember …
We grieve our loved ones forever, simply because we will love our loved ones forever. One thing that is certain amongst it all is love does not die simply because they are not here anymore. So in a beautiful way, grief is really just another word for love.