We grieve many things. What we grieve is subjective. What might feel like a loss to one is no big deal to another. Nonetheless, death of a loved one, is big deal even if you believe it isn’t.
It is the 2nd anniversary of my mother’s death. Should I be over her death by now? After working with several clients during this very same period who also lost a close loved one such as a parent, I have come to understand the grief process is not what most people think it is. Upon inquiry and observation with friends, relatives and clients I learned most people think the grief process is about being sad or lonely, missing the deceased or being otherwise emotionally upset because of the deceased absence. The changes I witnessed in my clients and myself, at first glance, one wouldn’t necessarily attribute to grieving but in this post I aim to show you what it actually means to grieve and how it benefits us to avoid resisting the process which we, as a culture, have been conditioned to do.
After reading through my journals and reflecting on the two or three years after my father’s death, 16 years ago, I was able to see what I did or didn’t do and how I was feeling or not feeling, I began to see and relate the upheaval in my life during this period and how it was closely related to his death. I could see how it was at least 5 years before the new me emerged from the process. My father’s death was a rough one for me, it was the first death of a close loved one and, well, he and I had a few issues between us. But even if we are okay with a loved one’s passing because they had lived a long life, there may be something that will change or happen on the many levels of our being that precipitate emotional, spiritual or mental struggle and anguish.
Our culture gives us three days off to handle the death of someone close to us. THREE DAYS!!! That’s all. That is the amount of time most employers give you off from work without running the risk of losing your job. Increasingly though, due to the rising cost of memorials or funerals choose not to allow their families to have these services and we aren’t even allowing ourselves this very important part of the grief process. It’s not that we need to take a year off from work because our work can be therapeutic as we heal from a loss but it’s a metaphor for our culture’s understanding for grieving, what it is, and what it can do for our lives. In addition, going through a grief process whether it is from large loss such as a death or a miscarriage or from the death of a dream, our body-mind will experience grief and most of us have limited understanding about how to negotiate care of ourselves after a loss. Most of us end up suppressing the process because a month or longer after the loss we think the symptoms or emotions we are starting to feel are related to people or other situations in our lives. For example we could be experiencing grief long suppressed from something that happened to us as a child. Grief and loss is subjective. What feels like loss to one person might not feel like loss to another. We must begin to understand and know when the feeling we are having related to a recent loss or old and how we heal it so it doesn’t stay stuck in our tissue. This requires some self-reflection which requires time and stillness.
The saying goes, “get over it and move on”. Our body-mind connection doesn’t work that like. Yes, you need to absolutely do your best to refocus after a loss on to those positive things about your life; your work; your avocation; traveling; your grandchildren; your children. However, if we notice our bodies giving us signals, aches or pains that have never been there before or the need for more “free flow” time, then we need to stop and listen and see what it means. Our culture is one of overfocus to dismiss the painful situations and experiences and just try to “get on with our lives”. Go get a coffee or work longer hours, or exercise more or have a drink. It’s not that simple. Sure, I wanted that too, after the death of both my parents and I can see now how hard I worked to focus on the positive but my body and mind where sending me signals that I needed to slow down and let my body help me process and change something that I never dreamed needed changing.
Because we are energy beings before we are physical and our energy systems are connected to those we relate to most, when the dying person leaves their body, our bodies, minds and spirits must change too. Their leaving creates voids on many levels depending on where and how and how much we were connected to that person. If we were extremely dependent on that person, not just financially but perhaps energetically for emotional wellbeing then our emotions will undergo change in ways we could not have predicted. If we fail to allow these changes by ignoring our bodies signals or asking for help from a counselor, you could literally suppress the grieving process. Children who lost parents often do this and don’t fully grieve their parent’s death until much later in life unless their remaining parent is skilled and open enough to get them help to release the stress from this event. Native peoples had systems for grief for the a year or two after the death. The medicine man of the tribe would be observing that bereaved person for especially the year after the death and beyond if the death was traumatic for that person. They will step in and talk with the person and help them connect with their stress about the loss. We have no such watchmen or caregivers and we are not taught to how to allow our grief process to heal us and the broken areas of our lives that may have been in place for decades. We under use counseling or processes like the One Brain System that help us get and understand biofeedback from our bodies. Hospice offers help after the death to the family of the deceased but it underused as well.
Mom has been gone for 2 years now but the pain and stress due to the extreme nature of the events surrounding her death carried on for six months after her death. My body-mind didn’t begin the healing process until all that settled down which was about six months after her death due to continued upheaval in my family. The counselor I saw called it an “aggravated death and grief process”. Consequently, though, I am, 18 months after the end of the stress realizing that the past six months in particular, are no less part of my grief process than the first six months. To say that things in my personal life became confused and stressed in the past six months would be an understatement. As I lived through this past six months I was not consciously thinking of my mother but I can now see how it was all part of grieving her death.
Perhaps many deaths are traumatic for each us and we don’t take it seriously enough. We just try to get back to the business of surviving, paying the bills and getting on with it. Okay so with a counselor’s help and my skills with the One Brain System and my mediumship ability, I minimized the PTSD symptoms in the first year but then the second year, and this is the end of the second year, was about the real business of grieving. I would never have seen it like that but it was.
A couple of years ago I became acquainted with the research from the Center of the Developing Child at Harvard University. Among other astonishing information we now have about what happens to children who are raised by depressed mothers (whether or not the mother was willing to admit or has been diagnosed with depression or some other mood disorder) the impact is clear on a child, short and long term. The architecture of a child’s brain, it’s scaffolds so to speak, are created by the mere influence energetically upon them by the parents who raise them. We now know that brains that are depressed and not functionally correctly have a certain scaffold system. Try being around a depressed person for a few days and see if you don’t feel a little depressed. Leave that person and in a day or so you will feel like yourself again. The menstrual cycles of women who work together will synchronize just because they are near each other everyday. These are the proofs that it’s no wonder that if a person is depressed who is raising a child, that child’s brain will develop a scaffold of depression. If your brain is depressed then the choices you make will reflect that depressed state and often lead you down a road that worsens, rather than improves things. I invite you to read the articles on that site that tell you the further life time damage that can and unfortunately often does result from the resonance of parents who are depressed and raising children.
To admit weakness of any kind in our culture has a huge stigma attached. Are we not all human? To admit weakness and ask for help has more power in it than denying that you have weaknesses and need help. So heart disease kills more people on Monday mornings than any other disease in our culture. Why? Because we don’t allow ourselves to admit, even to ourselves, that we need help getting to a place of peace which is where happiness lies. Constant happiness or constantly looking to have constant happiness is clearly an illusion. Happiness is really about inner peace and contentment. We are so disconnected from that still small voice within us that we just keep “trying” to be happy by appearing happy with our smiling faces on Facebook or other social media.
I once was diagnosed 22 years ago with clinical depression but have healed it over the past 15 years. I did not realize my mother was depressed at that time or certainly as a child. I was her canary in the coal mine. If our children have problems, the seeds of these things must exist in ourselves.
In hindsight I can now see that my mother was mildly depressed or seemed to go up and down for as long as I knew her. She admitted it frequently in her later years but never sought help. She was raised by a generation who was all about just working hard to get better. You didn’t ask for help, you just did it yourself. Certainly that is an admirable quality– to work hard and use yourself as the source of all your experience–but we are not islands. We are all human, and we need help sometimes and if we don’t ask for it, we can’t receive it. Mostly we are afraid of judgment, another wonderful thing that has developed in our culture and which is working rather well to undermine our ability to heal our nation and it’s problems. Judgment, like the illusions around admitting weakness, is another illusion of our culture. I shared a story about a little boy who was able to gives specifics about who he was before he came into this life. He was Caucasian but in his previous life he was an African American woman living in Chicago. He was able to describe how he died and they found the record of this woman and the other specifics. We are all the same regardless of skin color, religion or other apparent differences. We need to get over this fear of being human and our judgments of each other. We are all special and have something special to offer the world and we just need to do it.
We have lost connection with our still small voice and even if we can hear it, we fail to listen to it and ask for help. My mother had strong intuition and spiritual instincts but she failed to ask for help for her entire life on the one topic that festered like a boil for her entire life time. She even spoke of it to the one and only person who gave her the first counseling session she ever had, the hospice Chaplain, three days before she died. I wasn’t eavesdropping, I was just passing from one room to the other in the back of the house as she was sitting on her hospital bed in the living room (front of the house)– I simply overheard this tiny piece of information . She was telling the Chaplain how her mother told her she was ugly when she was child and how she always walked on egg shells in her entire childhood around her mother. How sad. Not only did my mother live in fear of her mother’s sometimes harsh behaviors but she never was able to help herself heal this pain.
My grandmother had mellowed by the time I knew her but I heard about how she was when Mom was younger. Mom’s mother was a source of constant stress in her life, yet she continued to just take it and never asked for help. I can see now how her mother’s influence and her periods of depression that she worked so hard to control were linked. I didn’t realize, until the process that has been unfolding in my life since her death just how she was managing to control this depression by wanting to talk to me so often. Of course I always listened to her and encouraged her to seek help but she would not.
In the past week or two as the events of the last six months have settled down a bit I found myself reflecting upon my parent’s lives. Because of my self-healing tools such as meditation and defusing my issues, I feel like a butterfly which has broken through it’s cocoon; I broke through a pattern that I now see I learned from her through that brain resonance process when I was child. It was this need to protect our weaknesses and not ask for help.
I have received acupuncture for years. A good 5 element acupuncture treatment is completely dependent upon the ability of the client to talk about what is really bothering them. I finally, starting opening up and talking to my acupuncturist in recent months, and of course continuing to defuse my issues with One Brain, and the combination between her being able to balance my meridians with the right points because I wasn’t holding back, and my skills with One Brain has shifted me in ways that I can now see dysfunctional patterns in my life that have been holding me back from better things–things that I have been have to apply too much effort to change. I will now be able to make new choices that will transform my life, yet again, so that I can get further into that place of inner peace that gives us that contentment we are all seeking.
I can recall feeling like I could never really tell them (all of the acupuncturists I’ve seen over the past 15 years) what was going on inside me. I can see now it was fear of judgment and that they would never understand and that they might not be discrete and would tell people in the community about my problems and how that would impact my ability to work with people because we work in the same community. This is utter nonsense. The truth is, my problems and fears and your problems and fears are the same. It just looks different because the people are different. Anyone who stands in judgment over another has not seen how that same energy imbalance has or is currently playing out in their lives. In addition, any good healer or educator has a responsibility to heal themselves or they cannot help others. It is my pain that when I share it and get help and then make better choices makes me a better practitioner. My pain and fears, once admitted to and processed, how ever they need processing, can no longer run the programs in my body-mind that keep me from the things I desire most. She and I have learned working with our respective clients that we owe it to our clients to focus and get better so that we can be a clear and healing mirror to our clients. Any practitioner in the healing or educational arts knows that if you “talk the talk” you had better “walk the walk” or something will occur to make you do it. Educators and healers know this is a universal truth but it is this very category of people that often have the most trouble looking at themselves because historically the “medical model”–a paradigm in it’s last gasp–taught us– “do as I say, not as I do”. In other words, I am above you, I have all the answers because of my education, so listen to me, submit to me and I will heal you. True healing cannot and does not happen that way and the wild and weird stuck diseases we now have is a testament to this fact. Many natural therapists take on this doctor role and think they aren’t. When you feel that power of helping another it’s easy to go strongly into your ego. But the true healers who have staying power eventually realize this and are able to see that their pain is their power because it leads them away from ego to a deeper truth.
It is often difficult to see the deeper truth, the next pattern that is running us. There are always patterns running us– it’s how our brain functions. We need them but some of them, especially when you are overworking to get something you need and want, we can’t see and therefore can’t begin to change. I have learned, as a result of my grief process and remembering how my mother conducted her life and how her life was cut short by these patterns, that we must; 1. unearth that still small voice using what ever tools you need to because we often mix up fear and a true gut instinct; 2. listen to (take action from) the still small voice, 3. find an objective, discrete practitioner and open up to them so their skills can help you. I had been doing steps 1 and 2 since my illness in 2001 but the pattern of not opening up to get help due to fear of judgment was unrealized until the upheaval of the past 6 months.
The epiphanies and realizations that have occurred in the past two weeks as a result of this letting go of control of my protected inner being and fear of judgment are enabling me to see what the next steps need to be. I said, letting go. THAT is what a grief process is. I have let go of a way of being that I learned through resonance with my mother and something that had to change if I am to prevent my own redevelopment of disease and early demise as well as develop a deeper level of inner contentment I have never known. I’ve already faced a possible early demise but there are still physical symptoms here and there that I have yet to resolve and I can see how those imbalances are causally related to the types of cancers my parents died from. These symptoms were my body’s way of communicating with me that things were still needing change. I can now also see how in this grief process I have “let go” of a pattern that would/could prevent me from resolving these physical imbalances and how they are directly connected to the fears of judgment and trust–both of my parents had these fears. But I had to live it, observe the woman who raised me suffer and die and see how our patterns were connected and how those patterns passed from her to me without words or thoughts. I’ve known for years, intellectually that my parents were fearful of talking about their pain and their problems with anyone other than each other –“the blind leading the blind”. But that intellectual knowledge was not enough to raise my awareness to the visceral level so that I could release it. I had to live beyond my mother and see the new truth. Intellectual knowledge, as John Barnes (PT and developer of myofascial release massage therapy technique), research indicates is skimming the surface of healing patterns that could take you down.
The real healing begins when you put action behind your epiphanies. The steps I see I need to make are still somewhat frightening but the action I take will squash that mild fear and make me more unified in body-mind and spirit and begin to bring me those things I’ve wanted. I have to take this realization and begin to make new choices each day. I have to back up my awareness and understanding and new found inner balance with my choices. I can’t keep staying in the same relationships or doing things the way I have done them prior to this realization if I expect my life to improve. This goes for each and every awareness and realization I have. Awareness alone will not change anything. Choices change things once we are aware of how we created the troubles in our lives– even the ones we don’t think we had anything to do with.
No one outside of ourselves can heal us totally. I am sharing with you a path to healing that will help you and our world heal if you are brave enough to take these steps. Yes, it’s scary to open up to ourselves and then others, but it’s rewards are great. Who the “other” is also matters. The “right” “other” is not just any one but a practitioner who is truly healing themselves, who is not so much in their ego that they need you to submit to them. To open up means to stand in your reflective power of trust of yourself and state for yourself, not so much the practitioner, what is going on. A skilled practitioner will know they should merely be a sounding board and not an judge. They are not to judge what you are tenderly divulging but use it to “hear” how to use their skill to help you and they must not attempt verbal counsel. The reward of this openness with ourselves first and others second are health, inner peace and rewards that we have never thought of before which end up making us happier than the things we thought we wanted. It’s all up to us to heal ourselves. Medicines, diet, food, exercise and other natural treatments provide a healing to a certain extent, the cure is really rooted in raising our awareness and that process is up to us using what ever tools we have in our bag to get ourselves to realize our deeper truths.
Author: Bethann Vetter
Bethann Vetter is a Holistic Therapist, Medium and Teacher. She uses frequency balancing tools via her Mediumship in Trance skills to locate and provide the frequencies your unique set of imbalances requires. She uses her own subtle energy body technique, Epigenetic Reprogramming to help you clear subconscious level blocks. Frequency Specific Microcurrent is used for specific cellular level healing. Classes are available in active meditation skills such as mediumship and trance healing skills. Trance Healing sessions called QHHT© are also offered. Her frequency balancing ability works similar to the way Edgar Cayce worked. She tunes in to your issues and provides you with the necessary information, substances you might need as well as adjusting your frequency to a higher harmonic level. Her work is done by appointment only at a distance or in her office in Jacksonville Beach, FL.