by MITA MISTRY
I WRITE these words with a heavy heart as we mourn the loss of those who lost their fight against Covid-19 or other illnesses. These are not normal times and there is huge suffering around us. Every single day, we learn of someone losing their life, like the brave key workers, innocent members of the community and famous celebrities.
And it’s not just in the news, but also happening to people we know. Personally, my cousin’s husband passed away and friends I know have lost various relatives, including grandparents. The loss is immense and I, like many, have never known suffering like this before. And it does affect us, even if we limit news time because pain is pain and it hurts.
Perhaps the saddest part of loss during lockdown is not being able to comfort loved ones with an embrace and give those who have passed the send-off they deserve. Many south Asians mourn by singing bhajans or reciting prayers, but this has been denied to families and this adds to the sadness. We can’t fix what has happened and right now you may want to run from pain to drown the feelings, and somehow numb living with loss.
Ignoring feelings is common in south Asian cultures and there is still guilt and shame around openly expressing how you feel. But it’s ok to live in each moment and take life as it is presented during this difficult time.
Living beyond grief is perhaps something you can’t see right now, but trust that you can heal. If you or someone you know is grieving, it’s important to note the following points.
Talk about it: It can be awkward to know what to say to someone who has lost a loved one, but you don’t have to say anything. Just be there to listen without judgment or trying to fix it. If you have friends who offer a safe space, use it because every time you allow a bit of your pain to be felt and released, you are healing.
Time is your friend: They say time is a healer and we all learn to let go in our own way, whether it is slowly or quickly. There is no right or wrong way of coping with loss. It is a process worth trusting, so please be patient and give yourself permission to feel whatever you need to. Practise self-compassion and don’t worry about pleasing everyone. Sometimes it’s ok if all you did was get through the day.
Accept where you are: Grief isn’t linear and can be a rollercoaster, so it’s ok to allow yourself to feel down, happy, angry and return to being sad again. There isn’t a clear-cut path for processing grief and remember, it is your personal journey; so, let it unfold naturally. Try to live in the present and not dwell on the past, as best as you can. Mindfulness meditation can help.
Let the tears flow: Are you allowing yourself to cry? Emotions need movement to heal, so let the tears of grief fall and pass. This is a normal healthy part of grieving and there is no shame in crying. Tears are about letting go.
Hold on: It’s possible to have loss without getting lost and to lose people without losing yourself.
www.mitamistry.co.uk & www.twitter.com/MitaMistry