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Dear @kimberleyday, a warm welcome to the forums. Our hearts go out to you for your loss and the suffering you’ve endured in the lead up and afterwards. Your words are so raw – I’m sure there are many here in the community who identify with an extreme physical response to the loss of a loved one. It can be a confusing and frightening reaction, but the reality is that we ‘feel’ our emotions in our muscle and nervous systems first, which then sends a signal to our brain to create the ‘emotion’. Most of us haven’t experienced something so overwhelming before so we resort to disconnection and numbness as a form of self-preservation.
As we say at Griefline – everyone has their own unique way of grieving. Whatever that is – its OK. Trust in your own grief response – it’s a natural, adaptive way of integrating the loss of your beloved Grandmother. Try treating yourself with compassion, perhaps even curiosity. Your body is telling you where the pain lives …and also where the healing can take place.
It sounds like you endured some destabilising experiences as a young person. This is not something any child deserves to go through. And your grandmother sounds like an incredible lady – stepping in to give you the love, security and nurturing you deserved. It’s no wonder you have such a deep connection with her. And though you feel like her passing also means losing a sense of “home, roots and family”, remember that your connection to your grandmother can never be broken. Over time you can learn and integrate ways to nurture and draw strength from this enduring bond.
Not having the chance to say goodbye and being forced to live out those first weeks of acute grief alone in quarantine is cruel. Perhaps David Kessler’s quote “she died with all of your love” is re-assuring…all those years of love you shared was with her at that time. This is not to diminish your experience in any way and like you say, you are also grieving profound secondary losses which may be compounding your grief. That’s why we’re really glad you reached out to the forums for support. Sharing the burden of grief is a key coping strategy and a pro-active way to start your grief work.
Kessler says there are 2 goals of grief work. Firstly, figuring out who you are in the world without your grandmother. Secondly, coming to understand your changed relationship with her. It will be a long road and it will take time, but you can do it. We suggest arming yourself with a toolkit of coping strategies to support you through the ebb and flow of grief. Perhaps you could start with some of the self-care tips discussed in our article ‘Tools for Rest and Relaxation’ here on our Resource Hub; https://griefline.org.au/resources/rest-and-relaxation/
There are also some excellent coping strategies in our article ‘Coping With Grief’ here; https://griefline.org.au/resources/understanding-the-symptoms-of-grief/
@kimberleyday – we hope these resources are helpful. We want to convey to you that we are here for you at Griefline and would like to support you further here on the forums. So let us know how you are travelling. 🌸