September 21, 2014

Finding Balance During Loss. ~ Elizabeth Grasher

James Jordan/Flickr

Everyday I am asked, “Are you ok?” or, “How are you doing?” due to my mother’s recent terminal diagnosis and failing health.

But how healthy can a mind or body be during major transitions and loss?

Care-taking for a loved one while experiencing our own associated feelings about their declining health can often lead to our own deterioration in health and general wellness.

It is key to find balance.

Care-taking for the terminally ill friend or family member is time intensive, but make time for self care too. I often feel selfish identifying that I need to nourish my own body and mind, but it’s a necessity. It is important to set boundaries, even though it can be a difficult task.

Saying “no” can be hard, but I am practicing and learning how to say it more frequently.

It’s important to make time for quiet spaces. Find time to nourish your body and mind. A few moments to meditate, take a walk or sit in silence is crucial. Ugly thoughts and negative cognitions may arise in these moments of stillness, they are a normal part of grief. Allow these cognitions in, recognize them, but do not entertain them.

Often, friends and family will give well-intentioned but unsolicited advice. I listen, but frequently choose not to respond. Opinions about health care options, how many hours should be spent with the terminally ill family member/friend and a general discussion about how you are coping can be topics of conversation. My typical response is, “Thank you, I am doing my best.”

I appreciate that the advice is sent with loving intentions, but after these conversations I am often left feeling that my best isn’t quite good enough.

I acknowledge and sit with my own apprehensive, negative cognitions. I accept these thoughts are a natural part of the grief process and they do not define me. I work to live in the present to avoid unnecessary distress and anxiety about past experiences and future expectations. After all, I have the future to grieve my mother, I want to experience the present moment, the now.

I work to find balance and peace amidst loss. I will honor and love my mother until the end.




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Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: James Jordan/Flickr

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