Grief is not a pleasant experience but it is an unavoidable part of life. Unfortunately, the events of the past two years that have been foisted upon humanity by the vile ones in control, have caused several losses and traumas (that were unnecessary for the masses), including the loss of life. A few days ago, one of my mother’s sisters died of a lung infection that my family and I believe, was caused by the poisonous jab that she was manipulated into taking earlier this year. I have heard about adverse reactions to these shots by some in my circles, but this is the first death.
In honor of all of those who have died, been injured, lost their livelihoods, their sanity, or anything else due to the intentional suffering inflicted upon us all, I dedicate the entire chapter in one of my books about grief in this blog post. I hope it helps whoever needs it. There are other articles on my site that deal with grief which you may find by doing a search on that word. However, none of them are as comprehensive as what is stated below.
Part Four: Good Grief (My theory of grief)
Grief is your natural response to a loss.
Loss is any major life change that is perceived as negative (i.e. painful) by you.
Change is a difference in your external or physical circumstances (i.e. home, work, relationships).
You will not be sad about every loss in life – grief is felt when the person or thing that is absent has great meaning for you (i.e. it was a significant part of yourself and/or your life). This is always accompanied by a feeling of devastation even when you know the change will ultimately make your life better (e.g. the end of a relationship where each party no longer feel love for one another – they will grieve for the way things were as well as what might have been if they still loved one another).
The death or disappearance of a loved one is the most common source of grief, however, life is full of changes that result in loss – here are some examples:
⦁ career transition
⦁ loss of abilities (physical, intellectual) due to an accident, illness etc.
⦁ financial losses (bankruptcy, unemployment)
⦁ unfulfilled goals, expectations and life experiences (unmarried, childless etc.)
⦁ involuntary change of self-definition or identity (e.g. if you were an athlete who could no longer compete due to an injury – your identity as an athlete is lost)
My theory of grief is based on self-transformation. That is, grief creates a difference within you – the formation of new beliefs and behaviors as the result of turning a negative change into a positive. This does not mean that you forget who/what is lost or that your pain becomes less poignant – it requires you to make sense of the loss in order to move on with life. To take the aforementioned example of the couple who is separating, it may be important for them to ‘find themselves’ since they were together from a very young age. This kind of self-transformation is the natural outcome of transformational healing.
There are three principles that constitute my theory
– Your response to loss is unique.
– The need to find meaning in your experience of loss (self-transformation occurs here).
– The importance of the holistic approach in understanding and coping with loss.
Uniqueness of response
The uniqueness of your response to loss is implicit in the other two theoretical principles. In other words, you cope in your own way. To demonstrate the importance of this belief, I will refer to my response to a woman’s very original reaction to loss.
An acquaintance of mine giggled throughout the funeral service of one of her relatives. Most people present believed that she was acting inappropriately by referring to her as either ‘abnormal’ or saying that she was doing it for attention. Later, a few of her relatives asked for my opinion of her behavior expecting me to label it as pathological because of my psychological training, however, my response was, “It is her way of dealing with it and there is nothing wrong with that.” Laughter relieves psychological pain in a different way to tears. The former is uplifting, the latter sedating – both help a person cope.
Meaning, lesson or purpose in loss
The second principle involves that you find some meaning (i.e. a lesson or purpose) in your experience of loss. This is identical to Point 2 of the Three-point Therapy Technique-T3™. In other words, making sense of your loss, how you (or your life) are now different from before is the essence of self-transformation. Here you can find the positive in such a painful experience even though this may take time. In relation to the death of a loved one, a positive outcome might be to help find a cure for the disease that caused his/her death. The scenario below illustrates finding meaning by way of a lesson:
Ari recently separated from his wife. He started seeing a therapist who made him realize that he had been overly dependent on his ex. His therapist asked how he had been coping on his own for the past three months and he replied, “Just fine.” She also questioned Ari in relation to what he had discovered about himself during this time and he said, “I can take care of myself. I don’t need a woman to take care of me.”
Ari’s experience of self-transformation is a lesson in independence or self-sufficiency.
An example of a loss that is indicative of a purpose(s) is the following:
Anthony’s best friend John moved overseas for work. As he really did not have any other friends due to his shyness he was put in a position where he had to go out and find other companions. One of his new friends had a sister who eventually became his wife. Even though Anthony missed John everyday he realized that he never would have met his wife if he had not moved away. The purpose of this loss allowed him to move on with life.
Anthony’s experience of self-transformation is two-fold: firstly, he had to overcome his shyness to meet new people, and secondly, he became a husband.
The holistic approach to understanding and coping with loss
The third principle of my theory involves applying the holistic approach to your response to loss. That is, how you are uniquely affected on many different levels when living through a loss.
Symptoms (including processing emotions)
Grief is much more than sadness – it encompasses a range of emotions as well as other symptoms which are categorized below. It is not my intention however, that you interpret the following as a checklist of criteria or stages that you are supposed to undergo in order to ‘heal.’ You will not encounter all of these symptoms, some to a greater extent than others and they do not occur in any particular order or time frame. I have also listed aromatherapy oils which may help you cope.
Shock (including disbelief and numbness): peppermint, arnica
Confusion/poor concentration: lemon, basil, rosemary
Sadness/sorrow: rose, chamomile
Anger: chamomile, rose, ylang ylang
Guilt: geranium, sandalwood, neroli
Fear: sandalwood, frankincense, lavender
Anxiety: bergamot, geranium, lavender, basil
Fatigue: peppermint, basil, lemongrass
Insomnia: lavender, chamomile, geranium
Loss of appetite, indigestion, heartburn: peppermint, lavender, chamomile
Isolation, withdrawal: jasmine, frankincense, sandalwood
Bach flower essences are also effective at alleviating negative emotional states. The Rescue Remedy helps with mild to extreme anxiety/fear. The Star of Bethlehem remedy is specifically for grief. White Chestnut with the Rescue Remedy is good for insomnia. Most health food stores and pharmacies/drugstores sell these remedies.
The emotions related to grief need expression. Your forms of expression are unique to you. There are many ways to feel your feelings: listen to music, watch movies, read inspirational material, talk to a trusted friend or relative and use your creative outlets (i.e. writing, painting, drawing, dancing, singing, music and so on). If you find it difficult to feel, seek professional help (go to Part Seven for advice on this).
Severe panic attacks can also be a symptom of grief. Sometimes they feel like a heart attack: chest pain, difficulty breathing, numbness or tingling of the left arm. The Rescue Remedy is very effective as well as a breathing technique where you take in a deep breath and exhale slowly counting backwards from five. If necessary, seek medical advice.
There are also external factors which can influence when and how you might grieve. Some of these are: time, personal space and finances. For example, a woman who had nursed her dying partner needed to stop working after the funeral in order to grieve. The only way she could afford to do this was by receiving welfare payments. Others may delay grieving because they have children to raise, a mortgage to pay off etc.
Even if your circumstances are favorable you will not necessarily grieve immediately after a loss if you do not have the inner resources to do it. An example of this is the way one of my relatives responded to her father’s death. She was very close to him and was so devastated by this that she could not look at his corpse. Many of her relatives were trying to force her to look at him until her mother and I told everyone to leave her alone as she was not ready to deal with it.
Grief in relation to a particular event may occur many years later after being triggered by a current loss as the scenario below will illustrate:
Sally’s mother died when she was seven. She was told not to cry and to get on with life, which she did. When her Labrador died twenty years later, she was flooded with memories and feelings of her mother’s death to such an extent that she had to stop working for six months in order to heal.
Grief does not necessarily go away after a certain amount of time. You may continue to miss whomever or whatever you have lost. However, you will move on when you allow yourself to feel the emotions and come to understand how the loss has enabled you to experience self-transformation in one or more areas of your life.
Patricia Davis, Aromatherapy: An A-Z, Hillman Printers, Somerset, 1988.
Deborah Nixon, Practical Aromatherapy, Lansdowne Publishing, Sydney, 1995.
Edward Bach, The Twelve Healers and Other Remedies, C.W. Company, Essex, 1933.
F.J. Wheeler, The Bach Remedies Repertory, C.W. Company, Essex, 1952.