Let’s Talk About Grief!
Two years ago, my sister Kaye, hubby and I cleared mum’s old apartment, moved her and set up her new room at Orchard View, a retirement home in Manotick, much closer to our home. It was the day before halloween when we got her settled in. She enjoyed the activities and we were present for a resident sing-along. A few days later there was to be Halloween Party for the residents, we got mum her own witches hat so she could participate. Mum, thrived in her new environment. Who knew one year later she would have moved to her new home, this time beyond the veil.
According to the literature, the first anniversary of a person’s death can be almost as traumatic as the death itself.
Life goes on and often you can become caught in everyday life totally unaware of your emotions around the anniversary until you feel yourself to be “off” and are unsure why. This was my reality as the first anniversary of mum’ death loomed. I was aware of the date October 31, and had planned accordingly for Monday. Instead, my sadness became evident on Friday. My body cells remembered a year ago on the Friday when I had spent time with her. It would be Saturday October 31, Halloween when she chose her dying time. Due to our leap year, Halloween falls this year on Monday and I knew what I would do and how I would spend this 1st anniversary to honour her but I was not prepared for this early remembrance.
As a grief coach, I am all too aware of how “firsts” affect families. I was not prepared for my body and its emotions to be literal. I began to mourn again, thinking back to my time spent with her on that Friday. It was later on Halloween night just as we were settling down the telephone startled us out of our relaxing moment, it was the retirement home where mum lived calling.. My heart was in my mouth as I picked up the phone to be told mom wasn’t doing well – could we come. We live about 6 minutes away, coats on we flew to the residence. Oh dear I thought, not good, the nurse is sitting there. Being a previous nurse myself, I knew this did not bode well. She told us that mum had died before we arrived. She hadn’t wanted to let us know this before as she was concerned with us driving.
The rest is history. I It was as if from Friday on, my body began to relive all these events of a year ago. I had a hard time settling but decided to use one of my coaching tools – the letter of apology and appreciation. I began the process and it didn’t take long before tears began. I allowed, and then began to complete this exercise. Once completed, I felt lighter having taken care of my emotions in this manner. The exercise did help and I began to feel better. I would then go on to reminisce without too many emotions creeping up. Yes, you may be aware of the actual date of death, but please be aware of the literal date. Your body doesn’t know anything about “leap years”. Planning ahead does have its draw backs if you are.
Mum we love you and are thinking of you as you celebrate your first year in Heaven.