Tag Archives: Grief

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Missing A Loved One on Valentine’s Day

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Valentine’s Day can be one of the toughest days of the year when you are grieving. It is another reminder the people you love or once loved are no longer around.  The loss could be the result of a death, break-up or divorce. Often you anticipate it weeks or even months in advance giving you a sense of dread. Although it is actually healthier for you to cherish these days as a way of honoring your loved ones than avoid them, it all depends on where you are in your journey. Sometimes avoiding Valentine’s Day can be just as healthy.

WAYS TO APPROACH VALENTINE’S DAY

Be Prepared. Anticipating the grief associated with these events is normal. Knowing ahead of time may be tough can help you to decide how you want to spend that day. It could be celebrating with family and friends or being alone in your grief. Being prepared will help you to honor what works best for you.

Plan a Celebration. There is nothing that says you can’t celebrate on Valentine’s Day. It’s perfectly okay to throw a party. It’s perfectly okay to actually have some fun in memory of your loved one. If you do, they will be there celebrating with you.

Get Out of Town. If it is too much for you to be home alone during these reminder days, plan a trip away or go visit family or friends. It is perfectly okay to not be around if being in familiar surroundings with reminders everywhere is too much to handle. Just get the heck out of town.

Share Memories. Consider inviting friends over so you can share memories of your loved one. Ask them to share their own memories. Pull out old photographs or home movies. Tell stories. Laugh until you cry. Cry until you laugh. Memories are the best way to remember your loved one. There is no better way to honor them.

Start a New Tradition. If facing your usual traditions are too difficult, start a new one. Make a donation to a charitable organization, volunteer or plant a tree in your loved one’s name on Valentine’s Day.

Honor Your Grief. It’s normal to be both sad and joyful on these days. Expressing both kinds of emotions makes us human. Honor these emotions. Don’t avoid them. Worse, don’t pretend. Just feel.

No Fanfare. It’s also okay to let these days just be ordinary days. No celebration. Just another day.

It is completely healthy to either acknowledge or not acknowledge Valentine’s Day. Do what is right for you.

Surround yourself with people who understand what you need – not what they think you should or shouldn’t be doing.

Let this days come and go. Even if this means choosing to do nothing.

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Meditation: Honoring You on Valentine’s Day

Today is Valentine’s Day.

Although I miss you terribly, I remember all the Valentine’s Days we shared together with a smile.

I remember the laughter but most importantly I remember the love.

I am celebrating you and our love today.

Even though you can’t be here with me, I know you are smiling too.

And so it is.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Over 40 Different Grieving Events

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In the late 1960s, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe conducted research that resulted in the Social Readjustment Rating Scale (SRRS), more commonly known as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale. This scale lists over 43 different life events that can cause stress. Each event, called a Life Change Unit (LCU), had a different “weight” for stress. The more events, the higher the score. The higher the score, the more likely the patient was to experience illness. Unfortunately the SRRS did not take individual differences into consideration by assuming that each stressor affects people the same way. Regardless it became an important study for better understanding how certain life events increased the chances of stress-related illnesses and health-related issues.

 

Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale

The Grief Recovery Institute® (GRI) has leveraged the Holmes-Rahe Stress Scale for the events that can produce the range of emotions we call grief.  Since GRI founders John James and Russell Friedman feel that all grief is experienced at 100%, they have chosen to omit the mean value/scoring system. Since everyone is unique not all of the stressors listed might be viewed as grieving or loss events. As a result, they have added “intangible” events such as loss of trust, loss of safety, loss of faith, etc. which can also produce feelings of grief.

Their list of grieving events include:

  1. Death of a spouse
  2. Divorce
  3. Marital separation
  4. Imprisonment
  5. Death of a close family member
  6. Personal injury or illness
  7. Marriage
  8. Dismissal from work
  9. Marital reconciliation
  10. Retirement
  11. Change in health of family member
  12. Pregnancy
  13. Sexual difficulties
  14. Gain a new family member
  15. Business readjustment
  16. Change in financial state
  17. Death of a close friend
  18. Change to different line of work
  19. Change in frequency of arguments
  20. Major mortgage
  21. Foreclosure of mortgage or loan
  22. Change in responsibilities at work
  23. Child leaving home
  24. Trouble with in-laws
  25. Outstanding personal achievement
  26. Spouse starts or stops work
  27. Begin or end school
  28. Change in living conditions
  29. Revision of personal habits
  30. Trouble with boss
  31. Change in working hours or conditions
  32. Change in residence
  33. Change in schools
  34. Change in recreation
  35. Change in church activities
  36. Change in social activities
  37. Minor mortgage or loan
  38. Change in sleeping habits
  39. Change in number of family reunions
  40. Change in eating habits
  41. Vacation
  42. Holidays – Christmas, Thanksgiving
  43. Minor violation of law
  44. Loss of Trust, Loss of Approval, Loss of Safety and Loss of Faith, etc.

Since grief is defined as “the conflicting feelings caused by the end of or change in a familiar pattern of behavior”, it is understandable why these events can produce the range of emotions we refer to as grief. It’s also important that we understand if we go through one of these events in our lives, it is normal and natural to have these feelings. For example, although moving is on the list how many of us have treated it as a grieving event? Probably not very many. Understanding moving can cause feelings of grief can help us to have a plan-of-action in advance for how to address it.

The same is true for all the events listed. If we recognize these events can cause feelings related to grief, we can address them honestly when they happen. We can also change the way that society has traditional viewed grief, as only the result of the death of a loved one. Knowing the scope and breadth of grief, can help future generations deal with grief more effectively.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Does Reiki Help With Grief?

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I’ve been asked a number of times how can Reiki help with grief.  That’s a great question. I had been studying and receiving Reiki long before the deaths of my loved ones. So when they died, one of the first things I did each time was to call my Reiki Teacher and Mentor for a session. Anyone who knows me have heard me say that Reiki helped me get through the grief associated with both of their deaths. Here is my take on why.

WHAT IS REIKI?

As a quick refresher, Reiki is is a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. Reiki is given by the “laying of hands” that has been practiced for thousands of years. In fact, the basis for modern-day Reiki may have started in Tibet more than 2,500 years ago. The word Reiki comes from two Japanese words – Rei and Ki.  The word “Rei” means higher knowledge or spiritual consciousness.  The word “Ki” means life energy.  This is the same meaning as in Chi (Chinese), Prana (Sanskrit) and Ti/Ki (Hawaiian). Life energy plays an important role in everything we do. Reiki harnesses that life energy to promote healing, relaxation and a sense of calm.

RESPONSES TO GRIEF

In researching Reiki back in 2007, everything I read said Reiki focused on “health and spiritual well-being” and promoted “stress reduction and relaxation”. Maintaining “health and spiritual well-being” when you are grieving can be a top priority. Once grief hits everything seems to go out of whack. Our minds can’t compute fast enough anymore. We feel like we are in a fog. Our bodies also go through a difficult time. Sometimes we feel completely disassociated from them. Just like our hearts, they too may begin to feel broken and battered. I am sure if you have ever grieved, you may have experienced symptoms like:

Insomnia

Headaches

Loss of appetite

Difficulty falling asleep

Weakness

Fatigue

Feelings of heaviness

Rollercoaster of emotions

Aches, pains, and other stress-related ailments.

Since the above list shows that grief affects us physically, it’s important to understand what is happening and why. A body needs energy to be healthy. Energy from food, energy from exercise and energy from being outside in nature. Grief however is an energy-depleting emotion. If you aren’t replacing and/or balancing the energy your body loses when grieving, you begin to feel awful. It you don’t do anything to replenish the energy being removed from your body, over time you feel worse and worse. For example, after the death of my former finance, my heart physically ached inside my body. It felt like it was going to explode out of my chest. It felt like I was having a heart attack. Maybe in some way – figuratively not literally – I was. My stomach felt like I had swallowed a block of concrete. I had zip, nada, no energy. A person’s body, mind and soul can only take this for so long before any number of unhealthy things start to happen. It’s not unusual to get sick when you are grieving. It’s not unusual to have some sort of accident when you are grieving. These two outcomes can almost have worse consequences than if we just emotionally felt our grief from the beginning.

BENEFITS OF REIKI

As humans, we are made up of energy.  When the energy paths of the body are blocked or disturbed, the result can be illness, weakness, and pain. Reiki balances and strengthens the flow of energy within the body, which may decrease pain, ease muscle tension, improve sleep, and generally enhance the body’s ability to heal itself. Energy flows through a Reiki practitioner’s hands to the recipient. Reiki activates or enhances a person’s natural healing processes. Reiki provides us with physical, mental, emotional and spiritual benefits by balancing our energy. Some of the benefits of Reiki include:

Promotes relaxation

Improves sleep

Reduces stress and tension

Helps with pain management

Reduces anxiety

Soothes digestion

Improves circulation

Enhances healing

It’s not a coincidence that the symptoms associated with grieving and the benefits of Reiki almost match each other one-for-one. Reiki energy knows right where to go to balance and heal. The more I started receiving Reiki (and eventually once I learned how to practice Reiki on myself) the more I realized that I was actually taking better care of my body. As soon as I started Reiki after my loved ones died, my heart stopped feeling like it was going to explode. The brick in my stomach eventually went away. Being physically balanced and more relaxed helped me to find a sense of calm even though I was grieving. It helped me to think more clearly. It helped to sleep better so I wasn’t walking around the house and work like a zombie. Reiki didn’t magically take the sadness associated with my grief away,  but it did make it physically easier for me to deal with grief’s ups and downs. Having a sense of calm and balance gave me the courage and stamina I needed to tackle my journey through grief.

So consider trying Reiki. Don’t wait until you are grieving to receive its benefits. If you haven’t tried it and are grieving, find a Reiki Practitioner in your area. Reiki will help you to stay well both physically and spiritually which is something we especially need after suffering any loss.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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