Unconventional deaths - not the physical kind, but those life-altering transitions that denote an end, like a child leaving for college, job loss, or the dissolving of a relationship. These are the impactful moments we're exploring, dissecting their significance on our lives and the importance of acknowledging, grieving, and mourning these metaphorical deaths as we shift into new life chapters.
Grief doesn't follow a strict timetable or rigid order, and we tackle this misconception head-on, emphasizing the individual nature of grief. Arm yourself with a powerful self-reflection tool that validates and helps process your feelings - journaling about the unconventional deaths in your life. Tune in, bringing your openness and vulnerability along, and remember, it's perfectly okay not to be okay. Your emotions are valid and deserve space. See you next week with another engaging episode!
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This is, bite of Balance, your weekly snack size, therapy sesh. I'm your host, christine, and today we are going beyond the grave and continuing our conversation about unconventional deaths. If you haven't already listened to our full-length episode, go ahead and give it a listen, otherwise let's get started. Okay, so when we talk about unconventional deaths, we are talking about deaths that aren't literal, such as kids living for college, loss of a job, loss of a dream, loss of a version of yourself, or maybe it's the death of a marriage, a friendship or a relationship. It involves all the transitions in life that change us and, essentially, the ones that die or mark the ending of a time of our lives. I know for myself, getting sick was a huge unconventional death that I didn't even know was coming or would be considered an unconventional death. Everything about what I knew changed and no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't get it back. But now, looking back, there were so many of these unconventional deaths I just never really paid attention to them, such as breaking up with my high school boyfriend. That literally felt like a death that impacted me in so many ways, and I was only 19. I had so much more life to live, but it was a major death. At the time, the communication was different. I was different. My friend group changed. There was so much going on and the one thing that I've learned as I've gotten older is the significance of these events in our lives and the murky waters that you get into if you choose to not honor, grieve and mourn those types of deaths. It's so true that when we are in transition there is a good and a bad, but sometimes we push that good a little too hard and try to minimize that bad. A common one, I see, with this is with parents. Parenting changes everything, your entire world and I find that parents really struggle to acknowledge that change without feeling guilty. For example, something I hear a lot is my entire life is different, but I wouldn't trade it. Being a parent is the best thing. I love my kid. While all that is true, you invalidate your own feeling by qualifying or inserting a but. Statement. Both those things are allowed to exist. You are allowed to feel like everything in your life has changed. Period, end of statement Without feeling like you have to justify or prove that you love being a parent. Give yourself the space to feel the negative side of the death, of the life you used to have. It is valid and, most of all, it does not mean that you're a bad or a selfish parent. It means that you're human and you're grieving a life you used to know. The last point I want to get in is about throwing out the fake rules that we have been taught as it relates to grief. While grief is a process, the five stages of grief do not have a timeline, nor do they go in order. It's a myth, and it's a myth that truly can cause a lot of harm, because you'll be walking around thinking that you paid your time in grief and then, bam, you'll get hit with it all over again out of nowhere. And I think a good example of something of this nature is when you lose a parent young and then 20 years later you get married and one of your parents aren't there for your special day. You may grieve and it may feel just as fresh when it first happened, and then time will pass and then maybe you'll have a kid and you'll realize that your parent doesn't get to be there to watch your kid play soccer or to do all the grandparent things. You're going to feel that all over again, because sometimes we walk through the door of acceptance and we live our life and then we are tasked with walking through it again. Allow yourself to feel all that you feel, because it's valid and grief is a personal process. You make the rules. You decide for yourself how you get through it. All right, before we get out of here, I want to give you a balance tool for the week. So go ahead and grab your favorite journal or a plain piece of paper and write yourself a list of all the transitions, endings or, as I've been calling them, unconventional deaths that you have experienced. Whatever comes up for you. After you write that list, step away from it. Give time so that you can reflect and bring forward some unconventional deaths that you may have buried. Then come back to your list and add anything that came up for you since you wrote it. Then choose just one of those deaths and write a letter to yourself validating, encouraging and giving yourself what others did not give you during that time or what you may not have been able to give yourself at that time. Seal the letter in an envelope and put it somewhere safe. The next time that you are experiencing grief or sadness around that unconventional death, go ahead and read the letter. Trust me, you'll be surprised how much comfort you can give to yourself. You can choose to do this exercise for just one of the deaths or for several. That's completely up to you. All right, and there you have it, folks. We made it through another week in this crazy thing called life. Remember it's okay to not be okay and your feelings are valid and deserve space to be processed. Lauren and I will be back next week with a brand new episode of You're Always Fun. If you enjoyed this episode, go ahead and give us a follow, and be sure to write to us. We love hearing from you. Until next time, mind your health.