Blog 7 of 30

Last week a person I consider a dear friend (a sister in health as well as an inspiration to people to take better care of themselves) lost her dad.  He had been unwell for a very long time but seeing his obituary still sent a jolt of sadness through me.  Sadness for her loss, for her mother who begins life without him after many years of marriage, for her sister and brother and everyone in this community who knew what a wonderful doctor and man he was.  Two days later the news came that a very long time friend of my husband’s family and a woman I have always loved and felt connected to passed away.  When I heard, a jolt of emotion and loss just blew through me.  She had been so sick for a long time…her battle was courageous and she never lost her smile.  Those who knew her will never forget how special she was.

Death is one of life’s biggest stressors. It can make all other things in life feel absolutely unimportant. It’s hard to believe the sun still rises, that the mail man still delivers the mail, stores still open and life goes on when a person leaves this earth.  The people who are closest to those who passed away may feel like they are coping very well or they may feel like they want to die because the sadness is just too much.  Either way, the body feels the stress of death and it’s a crucial time to remember self-care but often it’s the last thing people want to think about.  When the body undergoes the emotional kind of stress that comes with the loss of a loved one many things can happen. Loss of appetite, insomnia, headaches, overwhelming feelings of despair which can lead to depression, a heaviness in the heart and so many other things.  Digestion may take a back seat as the brain sends signals to the body that eating is not a priority right now.  All of these symptoms can be associated with grief.

It’s amazing to me that people still think the mind and body are separate.  That we can think of treating one without thinking of the other when dealing with stress or symptoms of disease.  In the case of loss, the communication between the two is clear.  A thought of a loved one can sneak into the mind and the gut will literally feel sick.  Walking into a room that was shared with someone can cause a pounding in the heart.  Clearly, there is no separation between the two.  I don’t have any great words of wisdom for anyone dealing with grief from loss but I do know that supporting someone in these cases can be crucial to them retaining health.  This article was a good reminder of how powerful grief can be an that it deserves the attention it needs to be processed.  A few things that you may do that may be helpful to those who are struggling with grief:

  • Tell them that you are there for them.  Whatever they may need you are there.
  • Just BE.  Just stand in present awareness with them.  You don’t need to say anything while you lift them up in prayer or whatever your method may be.  But just extending loving kindness can ease the pain.
  • Bring soothing foods like home made soup, a fresh salad from your garden.
  • Share a memory of their loved one.  Something that shows them how much light that person brought into the world.
  • Take their kids if you can.  Just for a few hours, give them time to be sad or sleep or use the time for whatever they need.
  • Give them space.

I have never lost someone from my immediate family….being a highly sensitive person I can only imagine how hard it will be when that day comes for me.  I feel deeply for the people who shared their life with these two souls who left this world. So while this post isn’t about healthy eating or anything like that,  it about something that eventually touches us all.   Knowing that it’s normal and that there are ways to cope can be helpful in staying on top of our health during those times.

In good health,