Cindy-Lou Gair found the courage and strength
to face life after major tribulations in her life.
Cindy-Lou shares her insights on grief
and the healing process
Cindy-Lou Gair has lived through gut-wrenching trauma, and come up on the other side as a healed individual, a fully functioning mother and a counsellor who is trained in the grief process.
Cindy-Lou lost not one, but three of her children as well as her father. She took the decision to find a way to get through the immense pain. Her journey brought with it deep insights into the manifestation of unresolved health and emotional issues that nearly robbed her of her potential to live a full life. She has embraced the gifts of experience, and with her training is determined to change peoples’ perceptions concerning the death of loved ones and the accompanying terrible pain.
Grief can be felt as the result of any number of losses in one’s life, but for the purpose of this article, I will refer specifically to the grief felt at the loss of a loved one. If you are reading this because you have experienced the passing of a loved one, please allow me to express my heartfelt empathy and I sincerely hope this article provides some relief from the pain as well as some coping mechanisms.
We are individual beings and experience life from our individual perspectives, which is very exciting and wondrous. Therefore, I can only write from my personal experience and perspective. I know it would be an impossible expectation to bring hope and relief to everybody. The best I can hope to achieve is to bring your attention to some basic tools that will enable each to cope with what is a most difficult experience. The passing of a loved one changes so much in our individual circumstances while presenting a range of deep emotional upheavals intertwined with the pain, leaving us disempowered and lost. Please take from my writings that which resonates with you and which will serve you as you move through the process of grief.
The impact of grief on the physical body is severe. I believe that our first exercise in coping in times of grief should start with reducing the physical trauma. When our world seems to be spinning out of control the only “aspect” where we can regain some control is our physical bodily reaction. The fight or flight chemical reactions we experience, within the body, are a normal process as a result of any trauma. Our breathing becomes shallow and we have intricate chemical exchanges deep within each cell of our bodies. This is something we can and need to control as soon as possible. With a prolonged period of shallow breathing we arrive at a situation where we do suffer oxygen deprivation. You can view the following almost as a debriefing.
I have found simple deep breathing exercises are an invaluable tool. Find a quiet place to sit comfortably, close your eyes and breathe in slowly and gently, through the nose for 5 seconds, deep into the lungs, hold that breath for 8 seconds and then exhale slowly through the mouth for 5 seconds. Repeat twice more. On the fourth breath the timing can be reduced to 4 in – 6 hold – 4 out. Count as you breathe. I found that 5 minutes twice a day helped me to reduce the stress levels and enabled me to think more clearly. This can be increased up to 15 minutes or more.
Nature provides essential healing energies and that includes the sheer beauty all around us. Spend time in nature whether it is sitting in the garden with a cup of tea, walking in amongst trees or walking on the beach or in the mountains; breathe deeply and straighten the spine, feel the breeze on your face, the warm sun on your skin. This may sound trivial, but this movement and these actions send messages to the body as well as drawing in the healing energies.
Music plays a very important role in our lives. For me, music gives soul to my life. Music enables us to express ourselves at a time when we are least able to verbalise how we feel. Music touches a cord deep within us that resonates with mind, heart and soul. Music is a universal language of love. Take the time to bathe yourself in the music that stirs, soothes or comforts you.
It is fine to not sleep, to not eat, to not be the backbone of the household or to want to be alone for a while. Do not feel inadequate for shedding tears and being unable to focus. Let the tears come and let them go when you are ready. This is not a sign of weakness, but rather a natural bodily process. This pain must find an outlet and tears do help. Please do keep your body hydrated at this time.
Grief is extreme, therefore be gentle with yourself. You are going through a major life changing event. These few tools on how to handle grief might sound trivial, but at a time when you are being tumbled in the machine of life, an introduction of such simple coping mechanisms can keep us calm and grounded in the storm.
From my heart to yours.
Author: Cindy-Lou Gair