“Now the darkness only stays the nighttime.
In the morning it will fade away
Daylight is good
At arriving at the right time
It’s not always
Going to be this grey”George Harrison
I’ve been completely obsessed with the late George Harrison after watching the Peter Jackson documentary on the Beatles last November. I was just a smidge too young to witness the whole Beatles phenomenon. But surprisingly, my favorite songs are George Harrison’s. In my opinion, All Things Must Pass is a musical masterpiece.
I’m not going to infer or debate Harrison’s intent here. All Things Must Pass is perceived differently by each listener. But for me, this song not only provides a way to acknowledge hardship, endings or grief, but to also see beyond to a better day. His words are wise, soulful and full of hope.
No two people grieve the same. I can only speak for myself, but here are a few things have that helped me to find peace:
Connect With Nature and Fond Memories
I was 33 and stationed in Okinawa, Japan when my father unexpectedly passed away from a massive heart attack in his sleep. The news shook me to the core. He was my inspiration for playing music, joining the Navy, and going to college. He believed in me when no one else did.
I was forced to deal with my grief alone, a world away from home. My husband was routinely deployed and, as well, I was serving my own Navy career. In addition, I was raising kids and working on my graduate degree. My point is I had no time to grieve.
I had to dig deep and I did. I spent a lot of time walking at sunset, listening to the sounds of nature. I started playing my flute outside, under the banyan trees on base. The people walking by me must have thought I was nuts! I cried a lot.
Then I thought about the last few times we saw each other. I sat in for his keyboard player in his band on New Years Eve. The look on his face while we were on stage together will warm my heart for the rest of my life. He took me to a bar in Herkimer and we had a beer with his old Navy buddies, talking all the sailor lingo. He took me to the gravesite of his mother, and told me she always wanted to join the Navy, and said she would be proud of me. We shed a few tears that day. Keep in mind, this a man I had never seen cry before.
It took years of processing to turn the grief into a playlist of greatest hits in my mind. But the point is, I got there, eventually. Getting out in nature helped me immensely.
Start Something New 🐾
“Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life.”Anne Roiphe
Did you know that a death of your dog can hit you harder than a death of a beloved human? After a friend callously said “she was only a dog” I researched it, thinking there was something wrong with me. But it’s true. Many people will attest they suffered more from losing a furry family member. And they are family members, despite what others might think.
With each of their passings I started something new that channeled my grief into something positive.
I made major lifestyle changes. I went on a wheat-free, low carb diet and lost 50 pounds. Don’t worry, I was 200 pounds and needed this! I was jogging and working out daily. I read self-help books. I chose organic, responsibly sourced foods. These changes not only got me through my grief, but put me on the path to the better health and wellness that I still enjoy today.
I started playing Clash of Clans, a social warring game online. It was just the thing I needed to stop my mind from dwelling in grief. I made new friends through the gaming experience and connected with Navy shipmates from decades ago.
When my Heidi passed, I felt my soul shatter. I still have trouble holding back the tears when I say her name. I actually started writing this blog to help get me out of the funk I was in. The whole experience of setting up an online domain helped in creating my perfect coping mechanism.
When my mother passed a year and a half ago, it was a sad blessing. She was 91 and suffered from Alzheimer’s. She nosedived from an Italian spitfire to a bedridden invalid in just a few short years. She spent her last year and a half unaware of her surroundings, chanting “I want to die” during her waking hours.
Alzheimer’s is really two deaths. Your loved one’s brain leaves the planet long before the body. So you are grieving when you realize they have lost who they are, and then again when they actually die.
I was heartbroken when she died. I loved her, and it hurt like hell. But while grieving, my mind went to a place that allowed me to be grateful of the time I got to spend with her. There were so many things she taught me about life. After all, she was my mother.
While working through my grief, I felt myself changing. A more thankful and kinder spirit emerged from the despair in my heart. I’m still growing from this life changing experience today.
It’s hard to express in words, but I think I am feeling relief that she is no longer suffering. Subsequently, I have a renewed sense of appreciation and gratitude to be alive, healthy, and happy.
So how do we deal with grief or endings? I did it with the help of my family and a lot of soul searching. Our memories can keep the good times alive and we can also choose to ignore the bad ones. The mornings become days. Days become years, and the pain slowly fades. Trust me. It gets easier.
If you are going through insurmountable grief, please reach out to friends or family, see a counselor or join a local grief group. You do not have to suffer alone.
Thank you for reading! – Barb, the River Blogger (Btrb)
Feel free to reblog anything I post. I welcome all comments and discussion.
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