“Don’t run away from Grief, O’ Soul
Look for the Remedy inside the Pain.
Because the Rose came from the Thorn
And the Ruby came from a Stone
- The eerie silence, the hiss of air conditioner, the smell of medicines and the environment packed with uncertainty …Sathish was waiting in a hospital corridor. He was experiencing mixed feelings. His dear friend Baskar had a bad fall from the footboard of a bus.Sathish wanted to enter the ICU and have a look at Baskar so that he can answer the frantic calls of Baskar’s parents who were on their way from nearby town. His stomach was churning and felt like a heavy log pressing upon his chest.He is well aware of the fact that his friend is going through the tough battle of life with the head injury. He wished a magic to happen for the sake of the poor parents and the other friends who were rushing .The fear to face them was creeping within Sathish. Time is ticking away. Sathish was growing anxious and peeped through the doorway, but lo! the door was curtly latched from inside.Sathish now wished to have some friends with him. His mobile rang and thank God it was in silence mode. Sathish took the phone and was angry towards a friend who was unable to locate the ward.End of the day Sathish lost his friend though timely medical help given. Sathish was sad. He has to arrange for other formalities to help the grieving parents. When he came back home he was feeling low and the reality of Basker’s absence was a strong impact for him to deal.Grief is the price one pays for the love and attachment towards the person, place, relationship and position. Grief is mostly attached with death of a person who is intimate to us. It also includes loss of job, friendship, valued possession, identity, leaving the native place, ancestral home, losing a part of the body in accident or surgery, divorce, abandonment issues and so on.Loss of life is inevitable and we all have to experience that process in our life time. The person who left the world might have suffered physically ailing being in sick bed for quiet long period which might prepare the near and dear around him/her for the loss. Some might leave the world all of a sudden which creates a shock and disbelief to the people around.
The grief impacts the physical health of the mourner. He/she suffers with head ache, body pain, fatigue, loss of appetite, insomnia, shortness of breath, palpitations etc. The emotional wellbeing is disturbed with frequent mood swings, anxiety, numbness and depression. The person who experiences the loss will tend to forget, lack concentration and solving issues smoothly. Some might experience self destructive thought processes.
Sowmya lost her dear grandfather. She was living with him since she was a kid. He was a loving and nurturing person and her secure base. He had a heart attack and the end was quick and sudden. Sowmya was not ready to face this sudden change. She was angry towards the hospital and doctors who attended her grandfather. She thought doctors were not quickly responding and treating the patient. The ambulance was not on time, parents did not pay attention, grand father did not take care of his health and so on. While these thoughts were going on she slipped into the helpless mode.
She was self critical and was contemplating. She was feeling guilty that she was not able to act quickly to save the person. She was stuck and was unable to do her day to day activities. The grief was taking a toll on her sleep, food intake and studies. She grew thin and weak. The feelings of anger, sadness, guilt and fear were replayed and the vicious cycle was continuing.
Holding on with the grief took her nowhere. She was tired and worn out. Sowmya became aware that she needed help. She met her friend who was really concerned and ready to listen. Sowmya felt relieved after speaking with her. Her friend Nalini listened to Sowmya’s memories with her grandfather during their daily long walks. Nalini‘s presence and acceptance gave a sense of belongingness to Sowmya.
She started to think how to deal with the grief. She made an album with photos of grandfather. When she was viewing that she understood that grandfather was with her during most of the important stages of her life. She experienced the sense of gratitude that he was hale and healthy till his last moments. She accepted that the loss is reality. She forgave herself and others .She is ready to bid good bye to the departed soul. She started to move on in her life. She thanked Nalini for her unconditional support.
The grief is not a linear process and it will surface again at some point of time. The grieving person might re experience the same process again when there is a similar incident or when low in energy. The cycle may not be in the same sequence for all. Each person will have his/ her own pattern. Mostly these emotions and thoughts will be recurrent. A variety of intense emotions arise during the grieving process.
The other losses mentioned also will have similar impact on the individual. Being with grief stuck individuals need patience, acceptance and empathy. Let us be with them to help them to help themselves.