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Tuesday, October 9, 2018

My Life is like a Book and Self-Care for those who Grieve

I'm doing double-duty today, but as I was writing about self-care and grieving for the New Hope Support Group I facilitate, I realized that this might be helpful to others as well. 

I've also added a Poem/Prose piece I wrote about my life as a book... I've found this analogy very helpful.

All of us are affected by grief at some point in our lives.  If you know of someone that might find this helpful, please pass it along. 


The Importance of Self-Care

Grieving is hard work.  It is perhaps one of the hardest challenges a person can face.  It takes enormous energy and depletes you physically, emotionally, mentally, even spiritually.

I went to my pastor in despair, just weeks after my husband died. 
"Why am I so tired?" I asked.  He was a wise man, and drew a little diagram for me.  It was pie shaped, and in his opinion 95% of the pie was consumed by grief.  Which left 5% for everything else.

I was a busy mom, involved in my community, but grief brought me to a stand-still as I began to learn a new life as a widow, a single mom, as a grieving spouse.

I was asked just recently - how do people get over such deep loss?  My answer is usually the same.  You don't "get over it".  You learn to adapt, to live a new life, and come to a place of acceptance that this too is part of your story. 

Getting to that place of acceptance is a journey; a journey of hard work, of making good choices, of finding gratefulness and joy even in the midst of grief.

It involves self-care, perhaps more so in this season.  When our brains are consumed by any intensity in our life, we can go on auto-pilot.  Self-care at this point has to be very intentional.  Do I have nutritious food in the house?  Am I drinking enough water?  Perhaps this is a time to take those extra vitamins.  A walk every day is good for physical and emotional health. 

Reaching out to others is not always easy when you are grieving.  But choosing to make that call, reaching out to a trusted friend on a regular basis can make a big difference. 

Being kind to yourself, allowing yourself to rest and renew is critical to healing.  It might mean letting go of some things and focusing on the absolute necessaries.  Grief is not an illness, and yet we also need time to heal, with no time-lines.

My Life is Like a Book

My story takes a lifetime
it would fill a book
Some chapters full of laughter
and others very sad.
Each chapter filled
with learning
for Life's lessons
 come our way.
Do I cherish every moment
of every single day?
I sometimes read my history
for it is my life
I remember all that 
has shaped me
both the good times 
and the strife.
Today is a new day, a new chapter to write
I hold it gently, gratefully
and ask for wisdom; insight
to move ahead with courage
no matter what I face
The book that I've been given
the life that I embrace.
        © Grace Wulff

2 comments:

Randy Hamm said...

I find that if we intentionally carve out space for self-care and rest, then there is space for us to move through or deeper into our grief. Of course, that's not always the most pleasant thing, so its easier to keep busy. Yet, if we give it some space we are much better off - rewarded by 'reading this life' we live.
Thank you Grace.

Grace said...

Good thoughts Randy, thank you.