Friday, 15 May 2020

My thoughts about death and grieving during lockdown

Things have been so surreal since my Dad died at the end of January. I suppose things were always going to be weird, strange, odd, even discombobulated (as I said in a FB 'live' after his death.) And so it was and is: there is a Dad shaped hole in my life. Nothing can change that.

However just as I was getting back to a 'normal' routine after his death, Covid19 hit and suddenly we were in lockdown. And since then, my grieving process has got sort of stuck in a time warp.

I can't visit my Dad's grave.
My Mum hasn't been able to order a gravestone.
I can't easily do any of the honouring things I had in mind to help with my grieving journey.
I can't visit my Mum easily or any of my relatives.
Holidays when I was going to do something 'honouring' have been cancelled.

These feelings have sent me back in time to when I had a molar pregnancy miscarriage at 19 weeks pregnant in 2003. I was monitored for 8 months following the termination to check that I wasn't getting cancer which a molar pregnancy can become. Although I felt devastated I didn't grieve because I was busy dealing with the trauma of the follow-up. Years later I had a major breakdown when I saw a painting of a 7-year-old girl (which is the age my daughter would have been at that time) because I hadn't really acknowledged my loss and I definitely hadn't processed it as I was too busy dealing with my potential cancer diagnosis and then life took over.

I know I am so lucky in so many ways. I got to attend my Dad's funeral in February and his memorial service a month later in March. I got to say goodbye reading a poem at his graveside. I started the grieving process whilst he was still alive and was supported by friends and family. I got to talk to my friends and family face to face after his death. I got to cry and get hugs in person.

My grieving process is harder now. I can still talk to those friends who have supported me but there are no hugs and crying is so much harder over the internet. I have found being brutally honest with the few friends I trust to hold that space for me has really helped but it is more tiring to deal with the aftermath on my own in my house. My essential oils have really helped and I have a creative outlet for some of my grief via poetry. I have had shamanic healing that has helped. I learnt a lot from looking back at the experience of my miscarriage and what helped me and what didn't and that knowledge has helped me. As I said I am very lucky.

My heart goes out to all of those who have lost a loved one during this time. Grieving is such a personal and odd process at the best of times but in lockdown, our 'normal' has gone: the routine that we could grieve around is dead. We are untethered.

So now is the time to find people who you can vent to, cry with, or just be in silence with over the internet.

Now is the time to plan to meet up with those who will truly 'see' you or can be ok holding your pain for as long as you need.

Now is the time to plan those honouring celebrations and rituals that will help you take the memories of those who have died forward with you.

Now is the time for us to all start talking openly and honestly about death and dying so no one ever feels alone or not seen when a loved one has died.

If you would like any support around grieving using the amazing healing power of essential oils please get in touch using the contact form or visit my free Essential Oils for Grief & Loss product here to access a free eBook & watch a video of how I helped myself whilst grieving.