Grief Renewed; Grief Managed
I think we all remember adolescence as a painful time of life most of us wouldn’t relive for a million bucks. All the hormonal changes lead to insecurity, while you’re catapulted from middle school to high school. It’s a time of rejecting our parents, pushing them away, and making them miserable as we struggle to define ourselves separately from them.
As a psychotherapist, I always thought I could help my children with any mental or emotional difficulty they had. With my boys, it was true. I taught them to meditate, helped them change negative thinking patterns and watched them progress until my eldest met a gorgeous girl who got him to try heroin. That was the beginning of the end for him. It left a hole in my heart that will never go away.
Teenaged girls are a whole other ball of wax. My daughter is 13 right now and struggling with some really difficult things, triggered by the isolation of Covid and the governmental decisions that followed it. It’s horribly difficult to watch her suffer, but another painful piece is that she won’t let me help her. I’m sure it’s connected to her differentiating from me as her mother, trying to become a big girl separate from me. But, damn, it’s bad timing. It leaves me feeling very helpless. I can help myself but I can’t help her. I’m a mother. And I can’t help my daughter.
Grief is multiplied by any new grief that comes up. It stabs one’s chest, leaving an ache that must be relieved. It weighs you down, making you tired or causes pains in strange places. It can make one irritable, restless, or deeply sad. All of these feelings can be relieved by processing the grief through tears, creativity, meditation, or exercise. Grief can manifest in a thousand different ways, making us stop ignoring it and start processing it.
It brings us full circle. When in grief, all we can do is help ourselves. We can socialize with friends, do something creative, meditate, and exercise. We can work in a garden, hike in the woods, go foraging, and spend time with animals. We can listen to music, watch the squirrels, admire the leaves falling from the trees. Today I went foraging for nuts, watched the river pass, and listened to the incredible sound it makes as it moves over rocks. I trained my puppy, snuggled him, and harvested some of my fall crop that made it through the freeze. Nature is there for us when others can’t be.