Human Stories

The importance of grieving

This time is a grieving story from Nadine that comes directly from a painful experience she experienced the last few weeks:

The importance of grieving:  

Today I want to share my heart with you.

A dear friend of mine hurt herself severely out of despair and pain to the point that she almost died.

When I heard about it, it shook me to the core.

I couldn’t sleep, I woke up in the night thinking of her and I felt a mixture of different emotions rushing through me and flashes of imagined scenarios my mind created about her and her situation and how it all came to go this far.

I felt a devastating pain and grief, as well as anger and bewilderment.

I never knew when the waves of grief would wash over me – it could be any time during the day or the night. Suddenly my chest would feel heavy, the breathing would be short and shallow, my heart would fill with despair and the tears would fill my eyes.

I became aware how I was trained to pretend I am ok. Especially while being with others, I suddenly caught myself singing a little song while cooking, whereas actually, my tears where just about to flow if I would have allowed them to come, if I would have stopped my activity and gave them space. 
So much of my conditioning and habit is to suppress my unpleasant feelings and when I am sad, I learned to hide myself until I feel happy again, so that I won’t be a burden to others. 
It is such a catch 22: in this way sadness, grief, depression, as I learned not to share them, as they are not fun, isolate me, while what I need the most is the loving embrace of a community. A felt sense of connection, being held and that I am welcome just as I am – happy or sad, with all my tears as much as with my joys.
Luckily, my emotional state demanded attention and I have a community of giraffes around me, which allowed me to ask for empathic presence/listening and: allowing of emotions to be a habit. Here’s what I did and encourage all of you to try for a week:

1. I started every day with an Empathy call. I organized myself a group of 4-5 friends who could alternate, meeting for a simple structure of 15minutes per person- to share honesty and be received Empathically.
It was incredible to me that, as soon as I was in someone’s presence the emotional dam broke from one second to the next. I felt my body shake, digest and process each new wave of emotions and felt so much lighter afterwards. Freed. Thinking of how animals digest trauma and shock (e.g. when they are attacked or fall, etc.) allowing their body to shake, I am deeply grateful to the wisdom of the body and the space holding of my giraffe friends which allow my emotions to flow rather than to stay stuck in my cells for an unknown time. I am incapable to do it alone. Loving community is vital to me.

2. Throughout the day, I noticed my mechanisms of “pretending as if I am ok, not sad etc.” . I became aware of when I was doing it through acting differently (e.g. joyous) than I felt in my body (heaviness, tightness, etc.)…. Each time I caught myself doing that, I remind myself- sadness is welcome, anger is welcome, powerlessness is welcome just to let them show me the way to the deep love I hold for my friend. And the emotion could be lived and flow in my body. It often hardly took longer than 5min. Emotions change so quickly when they are allowed.

I share it, as I see how these 2 habits are simply not strong pathways in my system yet:
1. To ask for support and attention, to ask for a loving presence with me
2. To welcome my sadness, grief, anger. To trust that letting them be, would actually not overwhelm me and ruin my day. But that even the opposite- it would relieve me and makes space for other emotions not related to that topic.

After doing this for 3 weeks, I am amazed to say- I can thoroughly feel how a part of the shock was digested. I found myself one morning, not waking up with the same aching heart I had in the days after the shock. I feel more calm. And I can pass a day now without Empathy and still be functional.

I share it as a deep wish, that no one on the planet will stay alone with their pain. So that no one would experience what my friend went through.