Grief is a natural response to loss. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone you love is “taken” away. The more significant the loss, the more intense the grief will be. You may associate grief with the death of a loved one—which is often the cause of the most intense type of grief—but any type of loss, separation, ending or change can cause grief.
When my daughter went away to college last year, I felt like life as I knew it had been pulled out from under me and that I had been hit by a truck. I had no words to describe how I felt, and the grief literally and unexpectedly blindsided me. Wasn’t I supposed to be happy for her? Hadn’t I raised her to be a mature independent young woman? Yes, and Yes, but it still didn’t change the gut wrenching feeling I had walking away from her and leaving her there. I SOBBED for 4 days straight. NON STOP. I could not explain the feeling to anyone, and had NO idea how to stop the pain I was feeling. I had spent 18 years with my daughter as the role of her “mom”, and then in an instant that role changed completely, and forever. The one place I found solace was on my yoga mat. I spent many days crying throughout my yoga practice, as it was the only place I was able to literally let all of the grief pour out of me with every breath, every asana.
Fast forward one year, and she has left again to return to school and is now living with even more independence. I am not a crying emotional mess like I was last year, but I still am grieving her absence terribly. I also have gained so much compassion for the parents now who are going through this change as I never understood it before last year.
If you are one who is suffering from this or any type of grief:
-Allow yourself to FEEL the emotion, and don’t let others “discount” your feelings.
-Talk about your feelings to friends, family, therapist.
-Express your feelings creatively (journaling, painting, playing music)
-Look after your health! Eat right, exercise, meditate.
Know that the sadness does get easier with time, and if you have a regular yoga practice, use that as a tool to connect with yourself: body, mind and spirit.