Grief can be so overwhelming that we fear we won’t survive. And often, we don’t want to!
The brain can handle little else while it deals with and processes the emotions of grief. It already consumes a tremendous amount of our bodies’ resources when we are at rest.
Yet when we are stressed (i.e., grieving), our brains can consume upwards of 90% or more of the oxygen, nutrients, neurochemicals, etc. that we need for our bodies to function.
THAT is why we can feel like we’ve run a marathon, despite moving very little, when we’re grieving—our brains have used up as much of our energy stores as would have been expended during a hard workout or long race!!
So when we grief counselors remind the bereaved to be easy on themselves and do good self-care, because this process “is going to be like a marathon, not a sprint”, we mean it literally and figuratively.
Feeling alone, exhausted, fuzzy-brained, and overwhelmed during grief is natural. But being left alone during grief, without support and comforting presence (unless they want and need space), is not!
No one should be left to feel that they are uniquely broken because of the way they feel or the ways they find themselves acting around the death of a loved one.
Grief is as unique as a fingerprint. However we grieve is exactly the way we need to grieve. So long as we are not hurting ourselves or others, we get to do this process in whatever way we need to find meaning and healing and peace.
That’s why I wrote the grief workbook called “Sharing Our Stories: A Hospice Whispers Grief Support Workbook” (due out in August–click here to receive updates through the Hospice Whispers Newsletter):
1) to help people reflect on their own story by considering the grief concepts that arise in the 38 short stories of “Hospice Whispers: Stories of Life” (©SCIE Publishing, 2015)
2) to let them know they are neither crazy nor irreparably damaged, and certainly not alone and
3) to give them a safe space for their feelings to be acknowledged and have room to breathe.
The first reviews of “Sharing Our Stories: A Hospice Whispers Grief Support Workbook” are coming in from Advance Readers. So far, it appears to be doing all of the above, for which I am deeply grateful.
I’m double-checking the effectiveness of the workbook format and questions and information to make certain it is helpful and clinically sound. The agreement in the field is that there is not much available for persons who are grieving and the professionals seeking to support them.
I want this to not just be words on a page, but a truly helpful tool for healing for all involved, and cannot wait to make it available this August!
For now, please check out an excerpt of the reflection questions from the “Sharing Our Stories” workbook here on my blog. For those who do not yet have the “Hospice Whispers” book of stories, I’m included the one on which these questions are based in that same post.
Wherever you are on your journey, and whatever your experience with grief, I wish you moments of calm this day, and send you my warmth and love.