My grandpa was fucking awesome.
He moved on from this life earlier this week at the ripe old age of 90.
Witnessing and feeling into his suffering while being completely powerless to take his pain away was the hardest part of the week leading up to his death.
I’ve never as actively engaged with grief as openly and willingly as I have with this current experience with death, and the learnings have been many, with more sure to come.
When our human vessels age, dealing with ailing health for many years is often an accepted part of the human experience. With the way we as a collective currently live life, it makes sense that the end of life is commonly accompanied with dis-ease and suffering.
Losing a grandparent in particular can be so difficult because we tend to trivialize the death with thoughts like,
“They lived a long life.”
“It was their time.”
“At least they’re not suffering anymore.“
And while these may all be true, it does not make the loss any less significant. It does not make the grief any easier to bear.
We sometimes invalidate, deny, and reject our own realities, especially if we were taught that emotions are weakness and are still learning to hold our own emotional experiences with kindness and love. I’ve witnessed this in myself, as well as with loved ones and clients.
When the days are darkest, it is the easiest to revert to old emotional and cognitive patterning – a small, familiar comfort amidst a sea of change and grief. It takes many tiny decisions of active self love and remembering to practice all the tools you’ve learned and choose to use them as often as you are able in order to maintain some semblance of stability.
My default programming has been to invalidate the shit out of my own emotional states.
After 5 years of active self healing, rewriting old belief systems, learning how to emotionally process and regulate, and 18 months of coaching clients to do the same, when the going gets tough, I still have a challenging time with this.
I still falter, I still revert to old patterning, I still need more practice with the tools I’ve been acquiring.
And the practice is always most imperative when the weather has knocked the wind from your sails. This is also when it is the most difficult to do.
This is a testing ground to see how much we’ve truly grown.
It’s all well and good to do the meditation, gratitude, breath work, yoga, journaling, creating, connecting, healthful eating when everything is bright and sunny. But can we do it when we need ourselves to the most?
We can choose to self isolate, to ignore the signs from our bodies, to indulge in distraction.
We can choose to numb it and escape it with food, with sex, with Netflix. We can choose to exacerbate it by feeding into the damaging self speak, cyclic thoughts and emotional patterns. We can attempt to control what happened by placing blame, on self or external circumstances.
That’s all okay too, it’s all a part of the process. It’s human to falter, to be thrown off course. It may even be a necessary part of the journey.
Just don’t choose to stay there. Take as long as you need to process, to express and release, to mourn. And then when you’re ready – course correct.
When we decide to feel our grief, to remember who we are and the wisdom we all hold, we must embrace every aspect of this feeling experience. To hold it with gentleness and patience.
The grieving will ebb and flow, with some days being easier than others. Sadhguru taught that death is challenging for the living because of the hole in our lives that was creating by the loved one leaving.
It will take time to fill that hole. And during this time, we will learn new strengths, discover more about ourselves, get checked hard by reality, laugh, cry, and experience every emotion on the spectrum.
There is no right way to grieve. We simply mourn as we do. We do the best we can with what we’ve got. And that is enough.
Let us do ourselves a favor by being understanding and kind with ourselves. Let us not make this process any more painful by forcing ourselves into a box of what we think grief should be and feel like.
Death is a masterful and formidable teacher in the school of life. None of us are exempt from learning the lessons only death can teach.
And in the most challenging of lessons, the greatest treasures are discovered.
Hold on to your horses fam, we’re leveling up again.