How is it that grief is just a natural part of life, but society’s way of dealing with it is to avoid it at all costs? For covid-conscious women, finding grief support is as complicated as the grief we are facing.
Every time I ask myself how humanity has sunk to such a low level, I remember…
Most of us were not taught how to grieve or how to support people who are grieving.
Instead, we were trained to “get over it.” Crying has always been seen as weakness when actually those are medicine tears, helping us to process, feel and clear our emotional bodies, so that we can learn to live with the losses we carry.
When we are confronted with over 3 years of ongoing grief piling onto pre-existing grief, no wonder so many of us don’t know what to do.
We just want ourselves and our loved ones to return to some kind of “normal,” even with the loss of a job or relationship. Colonization created a society that sweeps grief under the rug. That’s why some people have a habit of trying to “fix” people who are hurting. It’s also why we often don’t want to face our own grief.
We don’t want to see our loved ones or ourselves in pain but witnessing is sometimes what is needed the most. That’s why so many people are stuck in that denial stage of grief. They deny that our viral visitor is still disabling and killing people right here in Canada and all over the world. It is too uncomfortable for most to witness and feel complicated grief and be gaslit for over 3 years. It’s a LOT… so I have some tips for you in this article.
Where does grief go if you don’t process it?
Unexpressed grief makes a home in your body and mind, creating heaviness, exhaustion, pain and/or illness, along with various emotions like anger or fear. After my son was murdered, I developed chronic pain. Even though I was grieving, I wasn’t letting the anger come up and out. If we don’t allow ourselves to FEEL, we can’t heal. Sometimes we need extra support to even know what we’re feeling, and then support to get through it. I had to go to another Indigenous wisdom-keeper and healer to help me bring out the anger I had suppressed around my son’s death.
I keep hearing from covid-conscious women about what and how we are grieving. The 2020s have brought us into a lot of complicated grief:
We grieve the lives of the living, the ones we no longer feel safe around, or who have shut us out, because they have “gone back to normal” rather than continuing to help keep themselves and others safe and healthy. To borrow a coaching term from the Before Times, most people have drunk the Koolaid. In other words, like in the Matrix, they chose the pill that lets them go back to sleep and pretend everything is normal.
We grieve the lives of the ones who have died or become disabled (or further disabled) from this viral visitor.
We grieve the lives of the ones we’re afraid might die or become disabled due to their lack of protection from it.
We grieve safe spaces, which have all but disappeared for those vulnerable to catching it and/or dying or having complications from it. Many of us are literally invisible to society because we can no longer safely show up most places in person.
We grieve having safe public healthcare, while others celebrate unmasking even in many medical facilities with continuing hospital acquired infections.
We grieve the way things might have been and the way things could be. That’s true of most grief experiences but for the covid-conscious, we’re talking about actively being stopped from fully participating in society. We could finally have equity and healing, but instead, we have denial, amplified hatred, violence and gaslighting, especially towards already marginalized communities and anyone covid-conscious.
Where do we go from here?
Let’s take a breath, for starters. Breathing into our bellies gets us back into our bodies and cuts us off from what I call Anxiety Land. That’s the place in and above your head where negative or anxiety-producing thoughts keep popping up to pull you in, in hopes that you will “go back to normal.” Breathe.
As I say in my song Grieve, “I know it’s painful but please let yourself grieve.” Express your grief in safe healthy ways.
Find grief support. When I lost my parents one after the other as a teenager, I had zero grief support. When I lost my son, I made sure I had a therapist and I supported myself by creating an album of medicine songs for grief. I sought out the support of friends and family. I went to a group specifically for homicide loss survivors. These days I am running my Picking Up the Pieces 13 Moon Program for covid-conscious women, a virtual grief support group where we gather every New and Full Moon to share, learn and do mindfulness practices for grief, set to the live Indigenous medicine songs I sing from that album.
Do what works for you but don’t do it alone.
There are no easy answers but you are already doing the hardest part – actually allowing yourself to grieve. Make sure you find ways to cope and safe spaces where you can share, vent, laugh, live and learn while having space held for you.
Hold space for yourself the best you can (I’ve got a free resource for you below to help).
Remember it all starts with a belly breath, and that your tears are medicine.
- Download your free Care Package “4 Ways to Fill Your Empty Cup to Overflowing”
- Want to dive right in and get some support? Head over here.
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