Meditation Monday: How to Recover Your Equilibrium After Sudden Death
How I Lost My Equilibrium
The month of March brought about abrupt, tragic loss for my family and I. While tapping on the heels of the anniversary of our beloved Nana's death (my family's extra special aunt/great aunt to a multitude of nieces and nephews) we were hit with the sudden loss of one of our young- my 28 year old male cousin was murdered in cold blood!
I am an Inglewood, CA native (land of senseless gang related murders), and I have witnessed the velocity of this sort of unexpected, catastrophic loss time and time again; the impact is often more than the human mind can comprehend. But until it happens to you...you'll never quite feel the burn of this crippling affliction.
Immediately following my cousins murder (exactly two day after our Nana's anniversary), came the mounting, yet equally unexpected departure of my grandmother- my family's matriarch! My grandmother was the pillar and cornerstone of our family; she was a mother to 7 children, and a grandmother to over 26 grandchildren, and a great-grandmother to 6. We suffered a deep, immeasurable loss that will leave a void in our hearts forever.
So...couple Nanas anniversary, with my cousins murder, my grandmothers death, and a home robbery, and you'll get a nerve-wrecked girl, full of ransacked thoughts and emotions! It felt as if I were being stoned by the diocese of life.. How much was my family and I supposed to endure in one weeks time. Yes- these traumatizing events all happened within a span of 7 days! As you could imagine, this completely disrupted every aspect of my life. So long Feng-Shui, goodbye ebb and flow, I no longer knew whether I was coming or going. The loss of my grandmother was a little more paralyzing than you might assume... After all, this was the 2nd loss of a mother I'd experienced in two years. My grand mother (Gama) and great-aunt (Nana) raised my siblings and I together. They created the dynamic of a two parent home for us, and her departure from this life felt like the finale to a great, long running family sitcom. The Gama & Nana show had now officially ended its run, and the viewers (our family) now have to find a new sitcom to fill the void. Accept, there will never be another sitcom as captivating and filling to the soul as that one.
So Now What?
What am I to do now??? I have grief riddled heart, a preoccupied mind, and zero will to get back to normal. I mean, I wanted to, but I was finding it difficult to regain my balance; the counterpoise between duty and apathy was a strong tug of war.
What was I to do? Continue to wallow in self pity and allow all I had been working on and for to fall by the wayside? Who will that make proud? What good will it do my future if I allow life and opportunities to pass me by while I grieve?
Process Your Thoughts and Try to Make Sense of Your Complex Emotions
Luckily, I'm a very deep thinker and I process the happenings in my life (good or bad) with the focus of finding the silver lining. This is not an easy process, and when applied to grief its actually a rather difficult task. It's much easier to kneel at the face of anguish, than it is to take it head on. But I am a thinker...and I have spent a lifetime organizing and compartmentalizing floods of heavy thoughts in my young lifetime. Some would consider compartmentalizing the emotions of grief to be a danger to the healing process in the long run. But I say, shifting too slowly through the universal laws and stages of grief can slow your healing process, and stifle your progression in life.
The Seven Universal Stages of Grief
SHOCK & DENIAL-
You will probably react to learning of the loss with numbed disbelief. You may deny the reality of the loss at some level, in order to avoid the pain. Shock provides emotional protection from being overwhelmed all at once. This may last for weeks.
PAIN & GUILT-
As the shock wears off, it is replaced with the suffering of unbelievable pain. Although excruciating and almost unbearable, it is important that you experience the pain fully, and not hide it, avoid it or escape from it with alcohol or drugs.
You may have guilty feelings or remorse over things you did or didn't do with your loved one. Life feels chaotic and scary during this phase.
ANGER & BARGAINING-
Frustration gives way to anger, and you may lash out and lay unwarranted blame for the death on someone else. Please try to control this, as permanent damage to your relationships may result. This is a time for the release of bottled up emotion.
You may rail against fate, questioning "Why me?" You may also try to bargain in vain with the powers that be for a way out of your despair ("I will never drink again if you just bring him back.)
"DEPRESSION", REFLECTION, LONELINESS-
Just when your friends may think you should be getting on with your life, a long period of sad reflection will likely overtake you. This is a normal stage of grief, so do not be "talked out of it" by well-meaning outsiders. Encouragement from others is not helpful to you during this stage of grieving.
During this time, you finally realize the true magnitude of your loss, and it depresses you. You may isolate yourself on purpose, reflect on things you did with your lost one, and focus on memories of the past. You may sense feelings of emptiness or despair.
THE UPWARD TURN-
As you start to adjust to life without your dear one, your life becomes a little calmer and more organized. Your physical symptoms lessen, and your "depression" begins to lift slightly.
RECONSTRUCTION & WORKING THROUGH-
As you become more functional, your mind starts working again, and you will find yourself seeking realistic solutions to problems posed by life without your loved one. You will start to work on practical and financial problems and reconstructing yourself and your life without him or her.
ACCEPTANCE & HOPE-
During this, the last of the seven stages in this grief model, you learn to accept and deal with the reality of your situation. Acceptance does not necessarily mean instant happiness. Given the pain and turmoil you have experienced, you can never return to the carefree, untroubled YOU that existed before this tragedy. But you will find a way forward.
You will start to look forward and actually plan things for the future. Eventually, you will be able to think about your lost loved one without pain; sadness, yes, but the wrenching pain will be gone. You will once again anticipate some good times to come, and yes, even find joy again in the experience of living.
If I were to process the loss of my loved ones in these 7, slow, agonizing stages, I wouldn't be well on my way to living the life of my dreams. And by that I mean, walking in my purpose.. Earning in my field and off my gifts, and learning and evolving. Becoming centered and stable in my overall existence, and happy with the course of my life. I've worked hard to achieve this peace of mind, and I'm sorry, but I didn't think it would say much about the legacy of strength my Nana and Gama left behind if I were to become overcome and defeated by their absence. It is in these times that we must draw energy from our strength. Take ownership and pride in your emotional valor and continue to march forward in life.
My Stages of Grief
Reality Check: I analyze and dissect the current situation of my reality- Wow this is really my life now.. Both my Nana and Gama are gone. And the sweet green eyed face of my baby cousin, I'll now forever miss.. What does this mean for my life, what do these gargantuan voids really feel like? Ooooh shit...they hurt like hell! That's my cold reality...and I think I'll sit here and feel this for a few days.
Anger and Rationalization: At this point I become angry at my reality check, it makes me hot like fire! Why is this my new reality, and could this have been avoided? How could we have avoided this experience? Was this absolutely necessary to the cycle of life? Like...why me, us, my family? Is it in some way karma caused by one of our own loved ones? What is the silver lining here, and what am I supposed to learn from this? Is this not too harsh a' life lesson? Did I do something to deserve this? How do I recover from this loss? What will I gain from this life lesson? What new am I discovering about my strength and myself? I try my damdest to find even the least bit of optimism, after the anguish and push to rationalize the happenings. It helps me to find resolve...
Depression: NEED I SAY MORE???
Retrospection: I consider all the mental and emotional discoveries I made while processing my grief, and I try to organize my growth and the lessons I learned in the process of trying to heal my pain, with reason and purpose.
Motivation: With owning the fact that life must go on, as day continues to turn to night, and weeks cycle and turn to months, and the months turn to years, you realize the train called life stops for no one . What will you allow a whole year of your life to have stood for, post traumatic loss? Would you rather have a new pity party, a couple pats on the back, and play the same ol songs- "woe is me" "It'll get better one day" "it's okay that you missed out on that opportunity, you were grieving." "You'll get through it in your own timing." Pardon me, but after a while, those comforting phrases tend to create pits for grieving people to allow themselves to fall into. You have to encourage yourself, and think about what the person you're missing would genuinely want for you, and let that motivate you to keep pushing.
Accepting the Fact That They're Still With You: It makes the loss of a loved one a much easier pill to swallow when you acknowledge that they're still present in your life. After death, your family becomes your ancestry, and they never leave you. They become our guardians in the sky, our protectors, and spiritual petitioners. Understand and respect their new position in your life, and empower them to stick close to you.
See Them In Your Dreams: Acknowledge that you can still feel them and visit with them in your dreams. And no, I'm not talking creepy séance and rituals; I'm talking natural, unsolicited visitation, by way of dream passage. Usually, when you awake revitalized by a dream of a deceased loved one, it's because they've visited you and you feel their energy! :)
Regain Your Equilibrium: Becoming happy again is a natural progression of the grief cycle; don't allow yourself to feel guilty for moving forward and getting your happy back! You deserve to be joyous and ultimately, its what they'd want for you as well.
Commit to Greatness: Commit to making the rest of your life, the best of your life! Create some actionable goals and plans, and start working to bring them into fruition. Remember, tragedy often creates greatness. How will you allow the sting of your loss to fuel your fire for life?! How can this tragedy become a victory? What can this death, birth new life into? What dream of yours would your loved one be proud to see you fulfill?
Meditate on This...
I am a conqueror, and I will not let the enormity of this tragedy conquer me.
I will rise a'new each day, and gird myself with mental strength and emotional valor.
I will not hide from the pain of my new found reality, but instead feel it, and process my way through the grief.
Death is an unfair disparity of life, and no human on earth is exempt from its grim touch.
Therefore, I will take the tragedy of death and use it to strengthen my interior, and toughen my exterior.
I will overcome this hurdle, and I will continue to persevere through all life's
I will not dwell in depression,
I will not develop an empty, desolate, idle mind,
I will not let anger and apathy overtake me,
I will not let grief stricken me,
As day turns to night, and night to day,
So will my strength, and will renew each day,
I will carry on in strength and in truth, and I will add to my ancestors' legacy,
I will fight to make them proud each day, as I will the tears to drift away,
I will hold onto thoughts of you, and keep your legacy alive and true,
I will not kneel at the face of anguish, yet instead fight to regain my composure.
I will regain my equilibrium,
I will sustain,
I will survive,
I will fight,
I will continue to live life.
Love. Live. Life
what do you think about this weeks meditation monday? Has the sudden loss of a loved one ever knocked you off your feet? what was your grieving process like? do you know anyone that would be able to benefit from this meditation monday? Spread the message of healing and share, share, share!!!
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