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Multiple Losses - Staying Standing in the Midst of the Whirlwind

They say losses come in threes - when this is the death of celebrities, it might be easy to make light of it. But if these losses are personal, it can feel like you are standing under a dark cloud being soaked with sorrow and physically painful blows.

It can be a combination of losses, or losses that are anticipated, that make you feel like you cannot breathe, wondering where to put your energy and how to stem the tide of tears.

2010 was my beginning of the avalanche of loss - I lost two spiritual communities to unfortunate personal issues (and a few friendships), then my Reiki Teacher passed from cancer (the next day), then we lost my husband's kitty. The next few weeks had my father in the ER, plus two other losses. Then my father DID die in July, and we had to sell my childhood home, a disastrous mess, which meant not only digging deeply into The Dark Ugly of my past, but also cost me months of time, energy, health and spirit until it sold the following year. There were times that year, I could barely hold a thought more in my head.

As of this writing, I have one dear friend who is dealing with the fallout of losing his father only six months after his mother's passing, and two other dear ones who are facing the loss of both their beloved dogs mere days apart. The heartache is palpable, so painful, you can almost touch it. And on some level, they are all apologizing for how they feel.

How we face our grieving is so personal, and it comes from a deep place in your spirit, in your gut, that you may not even be aware of. But we do not have to feel guilty or ashamed of the intensity of these feelings, or how we express them. As a matter of fact, that criticism is cruel and will keep that grief locked within - expressing it is about taking the cork out of the bottle, rather than having it explode in the future.

So I am a huge advocate of expressing and venting your sadness:

  • Sobbing hysterically is absolutely acceptable - run your mascara, get clogged up, turn red - sorrow this deep and uncontrollable comes from your soul, the center of your being. And it needs a BIG response sometimes. So please don't worry about embarassing anyone.

  • Laughing hysterically may also occur, which may be looked upon as "unacceptable". Again, please do not let this stop you from expressing your pain in this way - it is equally as cathartic as crying.

  • I know a lot of folks who are very private and they choose other ways of expression - making jokes or being saracstic is what comes easily to some. Humor is very emotional, in an entirely different way, so that works. As long as the emotions get let out in another way, perhaps when a person is alone or with one loved one later.

  • Beating on a pillow is great - please don't knock over the vase or tear out the feathers....

  • Working out can be good, a good sweat can get rid of the toxins that build up, followed by a great shower. Cleansing to the mind, body and spirit.

  • I am a big believer in letting it all hang out (within a bit of reason) - have a drink, have some ice cream, ignore your To Do lists and daily structure if that feels right for you. You aren't going to do it every day (no, you are NOT), it's just temporary.

  • Of course, the daily structure of life may be a comfort, so if that feels right, do that. But do allow for time to express your emotional truth sooner rather than later.

  • If at all possible, try and eat and sleep with some measure of regularity, as it will make it easier to stay grounded and healthy. Ending up in the hospital serves no one.

Multiple losses that happen very close together may be confusing in terms of focusing on your grieving for one who has already passed, or focusing on one who is about to pass, though your heart may already be aching. My perspective on this is always to spend time with the latter: show your love, say what needs to be said and lend them your compassion for what they want done. It will empower you and honor them at the same time.

Overall, I want to add this:

You are in the heart of the whirlwind - and storms pass.

Practice Self-Care.

Lean on trusted and supportive friends.

Take one moment at a time.

And remember to breathe.

You WILL be okay.

You WILL get through this crisis - and then true healing can begin.

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