Sometimes life just gets in the way of life. Things happen that are totally unexpected and you get thrown a curve ball but you’ve also got to just keep going. Life keeps going. We’ve had that time this year. Where you really wish you could just stop for a bit, have some time to deal with what you need to and then move on. But the business and the farm don’t stop, the trees don’t wait and the avocados must be picked!
Losing Tim’s Dad, brought back a lot of emotions for me and got me thinking a lot about grief and how people deal differently with grief and loss. I feel like most of us have no idea how to do grief. How do we go on when we lose a loved one? Is it OK to just go on? Have we been sad enough? Have we cried enough? Are we crying too much? Are we mourning in a respectful way? Are we saying the right things to those around us who are also suffering? Did they say the right thing to us? Why did they say that? How will the kids deal with this? Should we tell the kids everything? Should we talk about it? What if people don’t want to talk about? Is there something wrong with not talking? Why aren’t they talking, they must be bottling it up, that’s not healthy.. Are they being too emotional?
So many questions and really the answers are very different for every person. Everyone deals with things differently and everyone needs to grieve differently, but there actually are some road maps and there are things we can put in place if we are open about it and talk about it, to make dealing with grief and loss just a little bit more manageable, because the bottom line is, we have to be able to manage it. It will be different for every person, but the more we can prepare ourselves and build our resilience the easier it can be.
The thing is, grief and loss are inevitable and we simply must deal with it. We all need to be able to cope with grief and loss of loved ones because no one escapes death. For a long time, not even necessarily in a conscious way I think I thought that I would never be able to be truly happy because I lost my Dad in such a tragic way. I sort of carried it around like my life would never be truly awesome because Dad had died. It was almost like an excuse. But, what I have come to realise is that is not true at all and life can still be amazing and beautiful and incredible and joyess no matter what happens to us. Because it’s not really about what happens to us but how we respond to it that matters. It was Charles R. Swindle who first said, “Life is 10% is what happens to us and the other 90% is how we respond to it” Hajaloula! How true is that? Things will happen, difficult things might happen, we get to choose whether we let it ruin us or make us.
But, the thing is, we can’t really make this choice consciously if we don’t have the resilience and the foundation of wellbeing to begin with. So how do we develop that resilience and wellbeing foundation in the first place? Where are we taught all this? I know for me, I was never taught about dealing with grief or looking after my mental wellbeing, I found my way there myself. I really wish I had been taught this as a child. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if there was more of a focus on building resilience and wellbeing and learning how to cope in difficult situations in schools? I am actually working with our local school to try to get this happening by implementing The Smiling Mind course, I highly recommend checking it out.
But what about us adults who have no idea where to start to build our resilience and our wellbeing? I’ve listed some great resources at the end to get you started thinking about it and I highly recommend doing some of your own research to find what you think might work for you. You can try meditating, journalling, practicing gratitude daily, making sure you have good relationships with loved ones, exercising regularly, getting plenty of sleep and being kind! Even just having a conversation with loved ones about death and what you want out of life is a good place to start.
I was speaking to our community health nurse the other week and she mentioned that she was going to check out a “Death Cafe” and my ears pricked up. She explained a little more and I just thought it sounded so cool. Basically, you can set it up in your town for a time in a cafe or other local hang out and people can go and ask all sorts of questions about death, openly and without any judgement. The concept of the death cafe is also ‘to increase awareness of death with a view to helping people make the most of their (finite) lives’. So not only talking openly about death but also asking you to think about life! What a wonderful initiative! You can check out more about it here: http://deathcafe.com/what/
Do you have some tips or tools that you use to build your resilience or develop your wellbeing and help you cope when things are tough? Do you think you have a good level of resilience? Do you talk about death with your family and are you living life to the fullest because you know that it is precious? I’d love to hear.
Thanks for reading and happy living!!!