Updated: May 22, 2019
A resonance, a beating heart, a dash of sensibility & bit of kindness- are simple tools that make great difference in life. The best part is everyone already has them up their sleeves.
The “proper” talk/write of bereavement has been in my head for some time, in fact with many trashed attempted drafts as it is rather difficult to put into context because as mentioned, these are raw emotions. So much of energy is needed to hold these feelings & intellectuality in balance to allow the context to be comprehensible for all.
Bereavement is certainly as old as time and life, yet it is not treated as warmly as the latter. Bereavement and its other accompanying elements are considered to be on the other end of the emotional spectrum- most people just don’t want to talk about it (including the bereaved). While every human being is by nature able to percept this feeling, not everyone actually has to go through one in their lifetime.
As painful as it is, bereavement is one of the most enlightening processes in life I’ve been through, more so than the naturality of growing up/growing old/growing wise. So many breaths, so many insights, so much going, so much stopping, so much feeling, so much contemplation, so much unknown and so much seen.
Bereavement is painful, exhausting and in some sense, liberating.
So, if you are bereaved, I think you need to give yourself a pat on the back (a self-hug, if I must say) & know that you've done well so far. Our hearts may be broken & battered but we are much more whole than we know.
If you are not one who has bereaved, I just thought you might want to know that- it is awfully nice to have a kind, strong, whole heart who is willing to share the space, without any judgement and mending. (Quite a fine learned-skill to have too)
Intellectually, we often break down complex subjects for better understanding & comprehension. But the truth is our body, mind & soul have never experienced any experiences as a separate. (not as long as you call yourself a human). These aspects of our beingness are each like threads, weaved together to form the cloth, no one thread is more important than another.
So, here I am, following a royal lead (literally), chipping in on this topic in my own little space.
I had selected a few phrases/lines from HRH Prince William that resonates with my feelings to elaborate. I do suggest you read the relevant articles or watch the documentary if it’s accessible to you.
"you feel pain like no other pain." Exactly as said, like nothing you have ever felt. Sometimes I feel, perhaps, there is just no amount of words in our human language that can entirely describe this pain and maybe, we never will. We are after all not the highest order, though we are the most sophisticated mechanism known. So, just imagine this, there are an estimated 30 trillion cells in a human body (so said), imagine them each as if an individual trying to accept this loss and process this pain, along with mind, thoughts, emotion, soul etc that all works in a different manner, all at its own pace, time & perhaps language. That is just how complex and weird it can get while trying to put down into words. It’s no wonder why it’s sometimes incomprehensible to many, after all, no one in this world has ever volunteered for bereavement. If happened, we just somehow worked it out and live with the loss for every subsequent living day. Like ebb & flow, that can only cease when the sea does. But, what is unnatural about the sea?! You’ll somehow find a way.
“And you know that in your life it’s going to be very difficult to come across something that’s going to be an even worse pain than that.”- Good news is there aren’t much worse than this, bad news is it doesn’t make it any easier, but of course, all is subjective. The loss that was once the centre of your life will inadvertently throw you off place but in scrambling your way back- you’ll learn important lessons of life. One such is what I would like to call “your-value-system”. Your perception of what matters in your life will change. That includes the what, who, when, how & how much of the many facets of life. We all have different prioritization. Your attention given reflects its importance in your life, all at your discretion. We are always free to act, though never free from the consequences of our decisions and the course of nature.
“……But otherwise we’ve got to relax a little bit and be able to talk about our emotions because we’re not robots.” To anyone who has been bereaved, I think to talk about it, is not as much of a concern than talking about it, with the right person (I learn this the hard way..yikes). With our society somehow being brainwashed into thinking that sadness, pain, negative emotions are bad & intoxicating- some people probably don’t want to be in the same space fearing that they might get tainted! But you know what, no one is obliged to be kind, let only empathetic. Regardless, you are entitled to all your emotions. As long as the conveyance of your emotion does not jeopardize your sensibility, awareness & consciousness- go on and talk about it then move with it. People around you can respond however they want to. Just as you are free to express, so do they. Actions & reactions are always only the reflections of its actor. But really, if you know someone who has been bereaved (while you have never), and you happen to be in the same space- don’t pretend like it has not happened, it does make you look utterly stupid especially if you have a bloody Facebook account. Hahaha! Have a bit of kindness (or at least brains! Even an ant has one! 250,000 brain cells if you wondered). Back to the bereaving, know that the only person who could never fail our emotions are ourselves and it’s enough. It is far more meaningful to have the conversation within (or out with whomever) who could hold a space to honour the subject than to have meaningless external interactions.
"……That raw emotion... I could feel it brewing up inside me and I could feel it was going to take its toll and be a real problem. I had to speak about it."- Our bodies are constantly transmitting information, more so non-verbally than verbal. Feeling the “brew” itself is the key. There are probably many ways to which people learn to better observe their feelings/emotions; as for me- I learn it through the cultivation of inner silence & stillness. This has allowed me to observe, acknowledge & accept sensations much more graciously, which also helps me to identify the ones I could sort out myself and the ones that needed help. Be assured that as long as there is a self-acknowledgement to your emotion, pathways will open up. Your beingness in its entirety can never fail you, it was never programmed to work that way.
“It also brings you so close to all those other people out there who have been bereaved.”- I feel you. I really do. And yup- we are a community! We are the community. Leave a line if you want to connect.
“They want to talk about it, but they want you to go first, they want to have your permission that in that particular conversation – one on one – it’s ok to talk.”- I think, between the bereaved & its other bereaved counterparts- the “talk” has already started in the silence, in the eyes. Much has already unfolded without words because of the resonance in level of empathy. While I found it to be immensely comforting talking to someone similar, I also believe that human is capable of so much more understanding. We can all relate to the feeling of helplessness, sadness or loss in life simply because we all know how it is like to live without those feelings. So, have a little more compassion (or brains!). We are all really not that different.
“There needs to be a turning point where we can pass the message on to men everywhere that it’s ok to talk about mental health. We have to normalise the whole conversation.”- There is nothing not-OK with anyone of any gender needing to talk about their mental health. Let’s put it simply, if I want a man, I want a HUman, alright, which simply means one who is by nature vulnerable but capable of immense possibilities! Limited but certainly not impossible with a little more effort! It is only unmanly when you(we) can’t live to the truest & highest potential of our humanity! That goes for anyone who needs a little more juice to open up and anyone else who capable of a little more compassionate. (The bigger brain must have some better purpose than just math & reproduction. o_O) You're only mental if you're happy when you are actually not!!
I am a little tired by now, light and f***king calm. (irony in words?haha) I’ve been talking about it after all. I hope anyone who reads this find it insightful and take whatever you need, to life.
It’s been exactly 2 years for me now, but He is in my every breath since, so close yet so far, but never alone.
If there's anything else you would like me to talk about, leave me a line.
Disclaimer: I am not a shrink either. These are personal experiences & opinions.