After my post on the death of my son, I received so many people wanting to know how you get through that. You do it like you do other difficulties, which may be different for everyone.
For me, this is what helped:
- My faith in God. He saw long before me and long after me. Many “coincidences” bolstered my soul knowledge that I was being watched, loved and comforted. I did a lot of “crying out to God” that’s in the Bible. He takes you where you are.
- Writing most days in my journal. Whatever was in my head and heart so I wouldn’t be a swirling tornado of emotion and despair. Finding out how to deal with emotions was a big learning curve for me. I found you had to feel emotions.You sit with them a bit feeling them in your heart and body. You don’t need to label what it is you are feeling. Notice that suffocating feeling in the chest, the nausea in the stomach or the tightness in the jaw. I preferred under 15 minute doses of sitting with the feeling, a few times a day. Then writing about the emotions, dancing, making art or listening to a piece of music helps the emotions keep moving. If you don’t feel them and allow them to move on you have piles of emotions heavily squishing down on your heart or pulling your stomach into the earth.
- Being vulnerable with others and allowing them to help. Allowing them to try to help even if they don’t know what to do or don’t do what you would want them to do.
- Knowing I had limited energy. Difficult times take tremendous physical energy. We think it’s all emotional energy, but the drain is physical as well. I had to take off work. I needed to quit volunteering for a time. I slept for many hours. At the very beginning my sister was fielding phone calls. Even simple household tasks were very tiring.
- Keeping up with my gratitude practice. I had started writing out my gratitudes the year before. I did not want to spiral down to a place I could not get out of or become bitter. Maybe keeping up with my thankfulness would be a good place to start, I thought, and it was. Prayers from strangers, hugs from friends, a great blue heron reminding me of our last winter walk with Jon, the snow finally melting, starting to feel good again after only 8 hours of sleep, what I was learning about myself during this time of exponential growth. Every day even on the midnight feeling days there was something.
- Getting out in nature. Almost daily I went to the wetlands by my house. This summer I spent one or two times a week at the beach.
Great Blue Heron from the wetlands. Pix by Brea Dargis
What has helped you through hard times?