Thursday, 25 February 2016

Dealing With Grief

After finding out my step-mum had bladder cancer and her chances of survival were slim I understandably went into an emotional tailspin. I was overcome by grief.

I spent most nights unable to sleep because I couldn't stop crying and thinking about her not being around any more. I was plagued by insomnia and stayed up watching TV for hours until the TV screen lulled me into a deeply tired state, where I would then crawl into bed and sleep most of the next morning away. Days were spent in a zombie state of mind, unable to focus and, to be honest, not really feeling like doing much. It has been hard going for sure - as I'm sure a fair few of you will be able to relate to.

One thing I wasn't prepared for is the reality of cancer. In movies people with cancer, even though bald and gaunt, are smiling and talking up to their final moments, and for all appearances drift peacefully away surrounded by loved ones. The reality of cancer is the body literally starves to death as patients slowly become unable to eat or drink no matter how thirsty they are. Faculties and mobility stop functioning as organs shut down and the body grows more weak. In the case of my step-mum she took two weeks to starve and die of thirst while being doped up with drugs so that the experience was as comfortable as possible (if that's even possible). It was hard for loved ones to see and I'd like to think she was not aware of what was happening to her, yet the reality is we don't really know how much she was aware of. What we do know is 4 days before she passed away she was told by nursing staff that she was dying. Until then she'd thought she was in hospital to get better and return home.

For around two weeks I was eating a handful of chocolate a day in an attempt to give my body fake serotonin levels (this is even before my step-mum passed away). Though obviously I realised I can't keep this up, chocolate isn't so good for me (all that sugar) and it's not necessarily a good way to cope. Although it's only natural to cope in what ever way we can, it is still important to find natural healthy ways to cope with grief.

After my step-mum passed away I began to crave floral scents, which is strange for me as I tend to find floral scents too sneezy and avoid them at all costs. Yet here I was purchasing floral incense sticks that I've been burning regularly and I've been using jasmine essential oil diffused in an oil burner - jasmine is particularly good for easing depression and easing the grief associated with the loss of a loved one.

natural vegan bath salts by JOLI

My step-mum loved floral scents, especially rose, and coincidentally one essential oil blend I have for grief contains rose. Mix 5 drops of cypress, 3 drops marjoram and 2 drops of rose in an oil burner with water.

To aid with depression, mix 4 drops grapefruit, 3 drops geranium and 3 drops palmarosa in an oil burner with water.

These essential oil blends won't bring her back, obviously, and don't make the sadness go away completely. The point is not to bring about delirious happiness and bury the sadness and not have to deal with it. The aim is to aid with healing as naturally as possible while allowing the mind and body to grieve her passing and come to terms with her soul / life force leaving this earth.

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