Tag Archives: Loss

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Why Are People Avoiding Me?

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Has someone close to you died and you wondered why everyone seems to be avoiding you? I have. At first you don’t notice it as much because you are in a daze. But once you emerge from the fog, you realize no one seems to be around. It’s like everyone disappeared to the four corners of the earth. Anywhere so they wouldn’t have to run into you. Or at least that is how it seems. Don Miguel Ruiz teaches in The Four Agreements “Don’t take anything personally.” Easier said than done when you are looking for support and all you can hear are crickets. You start to wonder what you might have said. You start wonder what you might have done. Why is this happening?

IT’S NOT YOU

Most likely people aren’t avoiding you, they are avoiding grief. Historically society has treated grief and loss as tabu topics. People avoid you because they have their own issues with grief. Maybe seeing your grief reminds them of their own. Maybe being reminded of their own grief brings them pain. Feeling their own pain may force them to do something. Doing something is way too hard. Avoiding it becomes second nature. But over time unresolved grief can become a ticking time bomb. A person begins to feel like they are going to explode. Avoiding you keeps them away from a path they don’t want to take. It becomes their primary focus.

Another reason people avoid grief is because they haven’t really been taught the right things to say. Not knowing what to say makes us uncomfortable. Avoiding  uncomfortable feelings seems easier. If they are “unlucky” enough to run into you, they say things like “They are in a better place” or “You’ll feel better soon.” Not helpful statements to a griever but it’s what they have been taught. Eventually they convince themselves staying far away from anyone grieving is the best solution. Once again it becomes about them and not about you.

Grief Reiki LLC

SO WHAT CAN WE DO DIFFERENTLY?

Face your own grief. You can’t be there for someone else who is grieving if you have your own issues with grief. This is especially true for parents of children who are grieving. If you address your own grief first, you are better equipped to help your children get through theirs. Begin to understand why you haven’t dealt with your grief. What can you do to address it? The Grief Recovery Method offers a structured action plan to help you do just that.

Be honest with a griever.  Instead of avoiding  griever, all you have to do is say “I just don’t know what to say.” An honest answer is better than crickets. Offering a hug without any words is even better. A hug can say it all. It makes a griever feel safe and not alone. Grief tends to do that to people. Makes them feel isolated. Avoiding them only makes it worse. As humans we need human-to-human body contact. In fact according to social worker Virginia Satir, we need at least 4 hugs a day to survive.

So the next time you know someone who is grieving, don’t avoid them. Offer them a hug. No words. Just a hug. It can change their world.

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Sending you love, comfort and peace!


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Book Review: A Widow’s Awakening by Maryanne Pope

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I was honored to be asked by author Maryanne Pope to review her book A Widow’s Awakening. Maryanne is an author, playwright, screenwriter, blogger, public speaker, workplace safety advocate, environmental educator and professional Auntie – started Pink Gazelle Productions in 2002, two years after the on-duty death of her police officer husband, Cst John Petropoulos of the Calgary Police Service.

BOOK DESCRIPTION

Discover the true meaning of love…

Do you believe in soul mates? What if the death of your soul mate meant the birth of your life-long dream?

A Widow’s Awakening is a fictional account based on the true story of a young woman’s struggle to come to terms with the death of her police officer husband who died while investigating a breaking and entering complaint.

Engaging, powerful, heart-wrenching, and at times humorous, this honest look at the first year of a widow’s grief captures the immense difficulty of learning how to accept the unacceptable while transforming loss into positive change—and is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

A Widow's Awakening

MY REVIEW

“Based on a true story, A Widow’s Awakening, is a hauntingly beautiful story of enduring love, overwhelming heartache and discovering resiliency. After the tragic death of her police officer husband Sam, Adri struggles to breathe let alone move forward in her life. With descriptions that are heartfelt, painful and often humorous, author Maryanne Pope artfully paints a picture of what it is like to have your entire world pulled out from under you. Having lost my own loved one tragically, I could so relate to everything Adri was feeling, experiencing and describing. I cried, I laughed, and found compassion for this woman who was courageously trying to navigate through what seemed like a terrible dream. This book is a must-read for anyone who has lost someone they loved and struggled to find their way in the aftermath of tragedy. Thank you to Maryanne for so bravely and honestly sharing her remarkable story of love and hope.”

OTHER REVIEWS

– “I started reading A Widow’s Awakening on Sunday and finished it Monday. The first third of your book touched me in ways I hadn’t anticipated. I cried so hard, my eyes became swollen; the pain was so real. I haven’t cried that hard in a long, long time. The grief you expressed was so real to me, as I experienced my own grief in a similar way. Reading your book has been healing for me.”  Cristy

– “I bought your book yesterday and meant to wait until the next day to read it. I crawled into bed and tried to sleep but something kept at me. So I crawled out of bed and read your book from start to finish. It was amazing. I couldn’t put it down.” Darcy

– “My heart is beating harder and my breathing shorter. I am hugging my husband tighter and kissing him longer. I have burnt supper while reading! I have read books until wee hours of the night but I have not felt this much about a book before. You are an incredibly gifted writer…I feel like I am right beside you and that I am getting to know John and your relationship together. I love how he loved you. I love your writing style, how brilliantly you tie everything together and how you authentically share your soul.” Kim

HOW TO ORDER

A Widow’s Awakening is available at BHC Press and all major book retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books-A-Million, etc.

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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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