Updated: Oct 30, 2020
Everything you ever wanted to know about grief and loss
How Grief Changes You?
In a nutshell, it changes EVERYTHING!
The very first time I experienced grief was then my guinea pig, Fred died. I came out to feed him one morning - I think I must have been about 12 - and he was stiff.
I was of course upset, but to be honest, I don't remember being all that devastated. Growing up on a farm meant animal death all around.
My mum packed me off to school anyway, and buried him unceremoniously in the garden, while I was at school.
Fast forward to being 17 years old and my nan had a stroke one morning, and died the same day and my granddad, who had been battling cancer for 12 years, followed in quick succession - 6 weeks later.
THAT was my first real experience of grief. I adored my grandparents (didn't know them on the other side of the family) and it was a MASSIVE shock.
I tried to just act like normal, not really knowing what I was supposed to do and was sent home pretty quickly from college and to the doctors to get a sick note - the very kind doctor signed me off for 10 days!!
I discovered early on that I personally find the concept of a funeral to be completely unnecessary and not at all really a good reflection of someones life. Things were said by the vicar which weren't true and there was an outpouring of emotion that was far too much for me to handle.
But I got on with life, and moved on - or so I thought.
Fast forward again to being 23 and my father took his own life. Depression, alcoholism, and losing both parents in the space of 6 weeks of each other, 6 years earlier, caused him to leave the movie early.
This time the bottom fell out of my world and I kept on falling for 9 years.
How grief changes you?
Now, this is my personal experience, but I have seen this mirrored in many of my clients over the years.
I can't tell you that I had a happy, fulfilling life before my dad died. It was OK. I plodded from job to job, had a decent friends circle, partied like a mad thing, and spent my evenings usually stoned, playing N64.
It wasn't really what you'd calling living life to the full!
Looking back on the evening where I got the news he'd done it (and I can remember it so vividly nearly 21 years later), that moment in time was a catalyst to a series of changes that propelled me (eventually) from deep seated, all consuming grief, in to gratitude and joy on a daily basis and living an amazing life.
I had never even considered living in a foreign county. I couldn't really see any future for myself in any way. I hadn't a clue what I wanted to do. I hated my job and used to go to work crying. I was stagnant, miserable and meh.
Cue dad killing himself!
I threw myself in to partying harder than ever.
I left England's green and pleasant land in search of something better.
I moved continents, 4 times in 10 years.
I gathered, studied, searched and researched how the hell to get myself happy.
I finally found it, did it, and am sitting here now, in my dream home, with my dream garden, and a man who makes me happy beyond anything I could possibly describe.
Things come into my life in such perfect timing and potency, I can hardly keep up.
So, how grief changes you?
It changes you in one, or many, of many ways.
These are all observations I've made of clients over the years:
Push it down deep inside and ignore it until it pops out with a ferocity equal to how far you pushed it down as a disease or illness.
Honour it at first, do the energy work to allow it to fade, and turn it into positivity and gratitude (rare)
Allow it to send you on a destructive path so that your life and health is ruined, usually taking loves ones along with you and don't deal with it until you feel you are the end of your tether.
Allow it to ruin future relationships - the self fulfilling prophecy of, I'll never find love.
Be stuck in groundhog days of just going through the motions, with the constant niggling feeling that something just isn't right.
Get to the later years of life and wonder how much better life could have been if you had dealt with it earlier.
and many many more...
So it's not so much really the question of how grief changes you, it's really a matter of how you let it change you.
One thing is certain. It needs to be handled.
Grief is an EXTREME emotion. It's not easy. It really isn't.
In a perfect world, we would accept that energy never dies and therefore our loved ones are never really gone, they just a different form of energy to their previous physical form, but it is very rare to find someone that enlightened.
So, get the help you need. Sooner rather than later. Don't let grief be pushed inside. Honour it, learn to love it, and find a way to turn your grief into gratitude.
I can help you do that....
Want to supercharge your way to a joyful life, full of gratitude
and free from shame, blame and guilt?