My life this year seems to have been touched by grief, and I have found myself attending two funerals. Those who passed were not my nearest and dearest, but were important people in the lives of those who are important to me, and I was there to support and share (if in fact it’s possible to share) their loss. I do not know a single person (past a certain point in childhood) who has not experienced grief, and it arrives not only with death but with loss of any kind and even with change. It could be the sorrow we feel when a relationship ends, even if we know it’s for the best; it might appear when we move house or change jobs; even the most joyous of life’s events, such as getting married or becoming a parent, may require a period of mourning for the old life we have left behind.
Many of us will have heard of the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. This seems to imply that there is one way to experience grief, whereas actually everyone treads a very different path and has their own unique way of feeling their loss. I used to believe that grief was like a gradual diminuendo, with it’s peak just after the moment of loss, slowly lessening and fading with time. Some may experience it that way, and there is often truth in the old adage of ‘time, the great healer’, but for many grief ebbs and flows. It can be gone one day or minute, only to come flooding back the next. Certain dates, occasions or life events can find it returning in a wave of emotion as strongly as it was with the first painful realisation.
One of the difficulties of grief is that it is incredibly painful and it can be hard to let oneself feel its force. Sometimes, particularly after a death, many things need to be sorted out, and taking the time to mourn can be debilitating and inconvenient. But it is essential that at some point we allow ourselves the time and space to feel the pain of loss. As Kim Kluger-Bell writes, “If you can’t feel your grief, you can only move on by shutting a part of yourself down… Although feeling your sadness won’t kill you, not feeling it can harden your heart… What will enable you to move on with an open heart is allowing your sadness to come and go as it pleases, rather than keeping the door locked tightly against it.”
People may get stuck at any one of the first four stages of grief, and this causes problems. Emotionally it can be a problem in that people cannot move on with their lives, but this kind of emotional blockage can also lead to physical problems. If feelings cannot flow, the heart may be affected (see my previous post which touches on homeopathy for the heart), there may be pain and stiffness in some part of the body, and there are schools of thought which believe that the suppression or bottling up of emotions may contribute to the development of cancers.
It is with these blockages that homeopathy can help. When the right remedy is selected it will resonate with the area or emotion that is stuck and gently allow the body and mind to release and move on. Sometimes the process happens very gently, almost imperceptibly, and a client may find they are in a new space, applying for a new job, moving house, or just beginning to notice the pleasures in life again. In other cases there may be an outpouring of emotions, perhaps a day spent crying or a brief outburst of anger. In these cases, the emotions need to be released and what usually follows is tremendous relief as the body and mind let go and begin to flow again.
“If you want to become whole,
let yourself be partial.
If you want to become straight,
let yourself be crooked.
If you want to become full,
let yourself be empty.
If you want to be reborn,
let yourself die.
If you want to be given everything,
give up everything.”
– Tao Te Ching
Death is an inevitable part of life and I’m not going to say it’s ok because it isn’t, it’s the most painful thing we have to experience. But we do have to feel the grief, the sorrow, the pain, in order to allow ourselves to live. What has been confirmed for me by the funerals I attended this year is how important each life is: the impact each person has on the world and those around them; no matter what they did in their life how much was altered by it; and how many people are touched, changed and enriched by each and every individual. And that is something to be celebrated.
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