Grief is a painful experience isn’t it and one which differs from culture to culture? The east celebrate the life of a loved one where we in the west mourn the death of a lost one. Even the language is completely different!
Grief is a process which we are led to believe goes through several stages from anger to guilt to sadness etc but do we have to be burdened with the pain of grief or can we change the movie we run in our mind?
I lost my brother to cancer years ago and was devastated. Not only was he one of my best friends but I was living out of the country and never had the chance to say goodbye. However on reflection I was never sure whether I was glad or not for this because my last memory of my brother was a ‘good’ one (he was still healthy and alive and smiling), however the movie I ran in my mind over and over again, when I thought of him after his death, was his hearse coming into view. This was the moment when his death became earth-shatteringly real to me.
Each and every time I thought of my brother this image would come into my mind and attached to this was the intense pain I felt at that moment. So what if I changed the picture I associated with my brother to one where he was very much alive, would that change how I felt? And if it would, would I really want to feel less pain because surely that would mean I didn’t love him enough?
Unfortunately for those who have lost a loved one the movie we tend to play in our minds is one from the final weeks where they suffered or their actual death (a ‘bad’ image) and we replay this scene over and over again and of course, attached to that movie are all those painful feelings too, so it’s no wonder we feel awful each and every time we remember this person.
Now I know there are many of you who would feel cheated if they did’nt hang onto the pain of loss however ask yourself if this is what your loved one would have wanted? Probably not and you know what, isn’t it more respectful to remember your loved one when they were alive, healthy and well because that was the ‘real’ them wasn’t it?
So next time you remember your loved one and you find yourself focusing on a ‘bad’ memory just say CANCEL in your mind and instantly bring to mind a cherished memory. Not only will this make you feel better in that moment but over time it will become an automatic process that when you think of your lost loved one the first thing you recall is a ‘good’ memory.
If the grief is still very raw and overwhelming then try out the butterfly hug which is specifically designed for trauma and grief. Not only is it quick but it’s comforting too ( For more information on how to do this check out yesterdays blog here ). Or give EFT a go – I use this with my clients and even after one session the pain has dramatically reduced and the ‘bad’ image they see has moved further away and becpes less focused too which means that your mind is beginning to process and release the grief (when the’ bad’ image is quite literally in your face as your recall it the pain associated will be worse however if you push the picture away from you on your mental screen the pain lessons).
So if you are ready to leave the pain of grief behind and smile when you remember the person your lost, then change the movie in your mind. When you become aware you’re focusing on a ‘bad’ memory say CANCEL in your mind and immediately bring in an image of the person when they were alive and healthy and preferably smiling too.
It’s okay to let go of the pain because you can always hold onto the love that you had and keep your loved one close at hand at all times in that special place in your heart. So remember your loved one for who they were and celebrate their life and yes you may still have a good cry at times and that’s only human but the raw pain will be a thing of the past.