Got grief? Strategies to help manage heartache

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Grief, like cancer, is not biased. Although grief, or heartache, focuses on the psyche, it can still kill: hope, good intentions, innocence. In “Moving forward through grief,” I talk about the stages of grief that many of us will or have encountered. No one situation looks the same; likewise, no one person assimilates grief the same way. Additionally, I believe this soul-deep sorrow can extend beyond loss into territories of unfulfilled dreams, unanswered prayer, disillusionment, broken relationships, failing health and so on. What we require is not a one-size-fits-all solution, but remedies we can apply to help us transition through it:

  • Accept it: understand grief is a normal part of life
  • Be patient: cut slack—with yourself and others—when appropriate
  • Allow time: rest, rejuvenate and replenish as necessary
  • Walk through it: realize it is only temporary; avoid setting up camp
  • Admit a need: know when to ask for and/or to accept help
  • Say no: don’t apologize, minimize or make excuses

What’s your strategy for coping with grief?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Throwing in the (proverbial) towel

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Throwing in the towel

[Image credit: FrameAngel]

One of my friends said I don’t go looking for drama; drama shows up at my doorstep.  I used to think my life was boring—monotonous even.  And then a tragedy struck my family nine years ago and nothing has been the same since.  Right now, I could really use some monotony.  However, one positive outcome of all the drama is a far-from-empty story coffer.  Because that’s the stuff books are made of—real life accounts that real people can relate to—trials, unrequited love, pain, sorrow, joy, adventure.  Through the characters in the books we read, we can either share similar experiences, live vicariously or even be thankful our daily lives are less scarred or messy.  And as much as I want to throw in the towel at times and declare, “I quit,” I know that one day my stories will be even more believable.  But until I’m published, I’ll simply grab my towel and keep heading to yoga.

What triggers you to throw in the towel?

The common thread of loss

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[Image credit: scottchan]

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth you are weeping for that which has been your delight. ~ Kahlil Gibran

This past week, the topic of loss has been no stranger both nationally and locally: a music icon, a former high school classmate and the three-year anniversary of my mother’s passing.  Loss is one of those common, yet inevitable threads — like illness and taxes — which we all encounter at some point in our journey.  Which means it cannot help but allow us to span the distance between our own lives and those of people we’ve never before met.  Because eventually, we’ll all pass through that well-traveled place of deep distress.  Recently, I read that empathizing Italians say L’ho provato sulla mia pelle, which means “I have experienced that on my own skin”— a visual described as mutually sharing the scorch mark or scarring that grief leaves behind.  Consequently, as we collectively and individually move forward on our life’s route with its myriad ups and downs, I believe none of us are truly alone.

How do you or others close to you express the sense of loss?