Let’s talk about grief for a hot minute.
Such a taboo subject in society, yet something that’s so known and felt in our family that it’s often turned into dark humour.
The seventh and eighth of December hold significant importance for my family, and I always have emotions that surface. Although I know there’s no right or wrong way to feel, I found myself cutting myself into pieces, expecting to feel a certain way on the seventh on what would have been my mum’s 45th birthday.
I had this idea that it had to be a happy day; I didn’t want it to be a sad day. Yet I found myself angry at the world, I skimped my self-care, I was snappy at my children, and even harder on myself. I didn’t cry much but f*ck was I angry. I went to bed feeling like I’d failed as a mum, failed as a daughter, overall like I just failed. Dreading the following day, I couldn’t sleep. You see, to add to the grief I’m unpacking, the following day marks five years since my beautiful sister returned to soul space and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t expect it to be any different to the day before.
Except it was different.
That morning I woke up and before I’d even opened my eyes for the day I decided I would allow whatever I needed to feel to be felt and that there was no right or wrong way to feel. I decided that I would be gentle with myself. Instead of cutting myself up for not feeling a certain way, I chose to feel and forgive. I threw myself into self-care that I sure as f*ck didn’t want to do, and in moments of stillness I came to realise such a core aspect of my anger. Guilt. The “what ifs,” the “if I had ofs,” the “if onlys,” or even the good old “if I could go back.”
For your information, there is no going back. There’s no amount of worrying or cutting ourselves up that’s ever going to change the events of the past or even come close to bringing them back. That day I made the conscious decision to practise self-forgiveness.
“I am enough, I did enough, I can let go.”
By practicing self-forgiveness and allowing myself to feel and shed every single tear that my soul was desperately trying to release, I could breathe deeper; as much as I cried and felt angry, I also laughed and smiled, and I put my children to bed that night feeling like I f*cking aced that day. Anger, tears, and all.
Ask yourself. What would it look like for you if next time you had grief and/or sadness surface you stopped and intentionally felt what needed to be felt?
What would it look like for you if in those moments you can barely breathe you intentionally leaned into the discomfort, took deeper breaths, and breathed through it?
What would it look like for you if you let go of thinking there’s a certain way of feeling through your turbulent times?
For me, it’s the difference between closing my heart off to the world and allowing love to be the beacon of light to guide me through my grief and sadness. It’s the difference between falling asleep with hate for the world and everyone in it, and falling asleep with nothing but love in my heart.