Grief is emotional torture. The thoughts that go through your head are nothing short of your own personal horror film. The anguish, soul destroying guilt, regrets and all of the other feelings on the spectrum, are just so painful it is a wonder that we are able to function. But, function we must, because usually there are other family members to take care of, small children who need you, perhaps elderly parents who need you. You are rarely left the luxury of being able to sit for long with your grief feelings. Apart from the early days, that is. In the early days, people understand that you can’t function and most people drop round with dinners and other thoughtful gifts, like books, magazines, puzzle books, nice hand creams or bath products…anything they can think of that might occupy your tortured mind and allow you some inner peace, even if it’s just for half an hour.
You might be seeing a grief counsellor, psychologist or you might be talking about your pain to friends or family members. Also, grief certainly doesn’t have a time frame. It goes on forever and, like the tide, it is forever ebbing and flowing, coming in waves, sometimes hitting you like a tsunami and other times just babbling away beneath the surface like a country field brook.
Whichever way you choose to deal with your grief, there remains the concept of self-care. A concept foreign to a lot of us as we are consumed by our grief, which doesn’t seem to leave space for anything but those intense grief feelings. However, as the months go by, little by little we realise that we must care for ourselves because we deserve to be looked after. Life has been painful for us in the cruellest of ways, and a way of feeling a little brighter is welcomed.
I have been thinking about this a lot, as self-care for me has been non-existent. My sister, however, pointed out that it takes nothing away from the memories of my son, it doesn’t mean that I am forgetting him if I indulge in self-care. She kindly bought me some hair care that is organic and gorgeous smelling with ingredients that sound like they could be in a luscious dessert! So I washed my hair with these gorgeous smelling products and inhaled the smells. It was like a meditation. It was therapeutic. I did actually feel much better afterwards. My hair smelled divine, lavender and ylang ylang amongst other smells and I felt really good. Plus, I did not feel guilty. It was okay that I took this time for myself to make myself feel nice, to smell nice, to feel healthy. My son would be happy that I felt good, he would not want me to wallow, he would want me to smell nice and look after myself.
So, whatever makes you feel more relaxed, better about yourself, makes you smell nice, or look nice, you should seriously consider doing it. Perhaps you like to lay back in a luxurious bath, perhaps you just like to have a really long hot shower, or perhaps you like to sit and meditate or perform some yoga positions, whatever it may be you should try doing it and try not to feel guilty. We can still mourn, we can still grieve, our loved one is never far from our thoughts but we can do this whilst looking after ourselves and indulging in things that make us feel good about ourselves.
I am making a promise to my son that I will, from now on, look after myself and do little things each day to make myself feel good. I can almost hear him saying ‘good on you mum, you should, you deserve it, you need to look after yourself’. So, there you have it, permission from above to look after myself. What does your loved one say to you about this?