grief

How We Connect

I haven’t written in a personal way in a very long time. My time in London on Mary Poppins Returns has been focused, mind/body/soul, on doing an incredible job on this film and savouring every moment of the creative process. It has been truly exhilarating, fulfilling and expansive, and a beautiful journey with the cast and crew. And lucky for us, we still have 3 months to go! I know I will feel proud of this film and I am very grateful for the adventure making it. 

Today I have a day off and while reading on-line, I came upon upon Lisa Niemi’s blog. Lisa is a dancer, writer and the widow of dancer/actor Patrick Swayze. I began reading and was very moved and captivated by her stories. She shares mostly about her struggles and grief since losing her husband, and she does it in such a real, heartbreaking and brutally honest way. Reading about her pain and hope, challenges and victories, reminded me how affirming and inspiring it can be to tell your truthful stories, the good and the bad. It made me think about why I started my own blog 3 years ago; my intention to share my own stories of transformation and to connect to others in a heartfelt and meaningful way. 

I’ve been away from it for awhile but I have decided to go back to my writing. It’s amazing how one story, one moment, one person can inspire and ignite another. Thank you to Lisa Niemi for being that for me. I wanted to share her blog here, and I intend to read her book, Worth Fighting For.            

May we all live authentically and be brave enough to show our vulnerability and share our stories, for it becomes a beacon, a comfort and a light to others who are finding their way in the darkness.

Love to you all, and I welcome any dialogue along the way so feel free to comment and share. 

In gratitude,

Tara xo

Coping with Grief during the Holidays

I felt inspired to share this article. While many are enjoying the connection, joy and celebration of the holidays, some are grieving the loss of loved ones or are struggling with sickness and sadness. Hoping this brings a little perspective and help to those who need a little extra comfort.  Written by Dr. Alan Wolfelt, Founder and Director of Center for Loss and Life Transition.

Holidays are often difficult for anyone who has experienced the death of someone loved.  Rather than being times of family togetherness, sharing and thanksgiving, holidays can bring feelings of sadness, loss and emptiness.

Love Does Not End With Death

Since love does not end with death, holidays may result in a renewed sense of personal grief—a feeling of loss unlike that experienced in the routine of daily living.  Society encourages you to join in the holiday spirit, but all around you the sounds, sights and smells trigger memories of the one you love who has died.

No simple guidelines exist that will take away the hurt you are feeling. We hope, however, the following suggestions will help you better cope with your grief during this joyful, yet painful, time of the year.  As you read through this article, remember that by being tolerant and compassionate with yourself, you will continue to heal.

Talk About Your Grief

During the holiday season, don’t be afraid to express your feelings of grief.  Ignoring your grief won’t make the pain go away and talking about it openly often makes you feel better.  Find caring friends and relatives who will listen—without judging you.  They will help make you feel understood.

Be Tolerant of Your Physical and Psychological Limits

Feelings of loss will probably leave you fatigued.  Your low energy level may naturally slow you down.  Respect what your body and mind are telling you.  And lower your own expectations about being at your peak during the holiday season.

Eliminate Unnecessary Stress

You may already feel stressed, so don’t overextend yourself.  Avoid isolating yourself, but be sure to recognize the need to have special time for yourself.  Realize also that merely “keeping busy” won’t distract you from your grief, but may actually increase stress and postpone the need to talk out thoughts and feelings related to your grief.

Be With Supportive, Comforting People

Identify those friends and relatives who understand that the holiday season can increase your sense of loss and who will allow you to talk openly about your feelings.  Find those persons who encourage you to be yourself and accept your feelings—both happy and sad.

Talk About the Person Who Has Died

Include the person’s name in your holiday conversation.  If you are able to talk candidly, other people are more likely to recognize your need to remember that special person who was an important part of your life.

Do What Is Right for You During the Holidays

Well-meaning friends and family often try to prescribe what is good for you during the holidays.  Instead of going along with their plans, focus on what you want to do.  Discuss your wishes with a caring, trusted friend. Talking about these wishes will help you clarify what it is you want to do during the holidays.  As you become aware of your needs, share them with your friends and family.

Plan Ahead for Family Gatherings

Decide which family traditions you want to continue and which new ones you would like to begin. Structure your holiday time.  This will help you anticipate activities, rather than just reacting to whatever happens.  Getting caught off guard can create feelings of panic, fear and anxiety during the time of the year when your feelings of grief are already heightened.  As you make your plans, however, leave room to change them if you feel it is appropriate.

Embrace Your Treasure of Memories

Memories are one of the best legacies that exist after the death of someone loved.  And holidays always make you think about times past.  Instead of ignoring these memories, share them with your family and friends.  Keep in mind that memories are tinged with both happiness and sadness.  If your memories bring laughter, smile.  If your memories bring sadness, then it’s alright to cry.  Memories that were made in love—no one can ever take them away from you.

Renew Your Resources for Living

Spend time thinking about the meaning and purpose of your life.  The death of someone loved created opportunities for taking inventory of your life— past, present and future.  The combination of a holiday and a loss naturally results in looking inward and assessing your individual situation.  Make the best use of this time to define the positive things in life that surround you.

Express Your Faith

During the holidays, you may find a renewed sense of faith or discover a new set of beliefs.  Associate with people who understand and respect your need to talk about these beliefs.  If your faith is important, you may want to attend a holiday service or special religious ceremony.

As you approach the holidays, remember: grief is both a necessity and a privilege. It comes as a result of giving and receiving love.  Don’t let anyone take your grief away.  Love yourself.  Be patient with yourself.  And allow yourself to be surrounded by loving, caring people.

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