I came across this list-to-self which I wrote not long after my father died in 2010. It has served me well and I hope it can be of some use to at least one other person in the whole world who is struggling to cope with the death of a loved one.
I would be delighted with additions to the list, if you feel you can contribute.
Finding Solace in the Face of Grief
- Read Wordsworth’s Poem, The Daffodils.
- Look at Monet’s paintings
- Listen to music
- Go for a walk
- Think of your happiest childhood memory
- Close your eyes and imagine you feel a purple butterfly land on your shoulder
- Eat a passion fruit
- Go for a swim in the ocean
- Listen to the birds at dawn
- Watch a river gliding under a bridge
- Make a list of your favourite movies
- Write a list of the 10 people whom you admire most and why
- Sow some seeds to give promise of colour
- Plant a scented shrub in the garden
- See the love in a dog’s eyes when you pet him or her
- Have a bath with a few drops of lavender oil
- Feel a handmade chocolate melt in your mouth
- Read a book of Humorous Quotations
- Write about a happy time spent with the person who has died
- Share your feelings with someone who truly cares about you.
25 thoughts on “Ways to Find Solace in the Face of Grief”
I would add pour your feelings into a poem as well as watch sunrise (particularly on a beach) amongst other things that have worked well for me.
Hi Geetha, thanks for these suggestions both of which have worked very well for me too.
Hi Jean. I am glad they worked well for you too 🙂
Oh they most certainly did. I haven’t shared the poetry ~ not sure why ~ perhaps because it feels too personal.
As for the sunrises over the sea, well I feel that this blog is bursting with them!!
Very true. You have the most beautiful pictures of the seas whether sunrises and/or sunsets 🙂
I think that what helps in healing people and letting them take charge of their pains is witnessing others express them truthfully as well as provide possibilities to cope with them. I have always shared even very personal things and they have proven to be very helpful for others as they tell me (whether in private or in public). I have to admit though that I never shared so publicly before 2010.
Geetha, you make a very good point about witnessing others expressing their situations ~ both painful and otherwise.
I often feel, though, that there is an unspoken pressure to always put the best foot forward and that expressions of pain are not very acceptable in a world where the view tends to be that we all have our problems so why engage with other people’s.
I think this ‘best foot forward’ on social media portrays the world in a very unbalanced way but confess to sometimes going along with it in spite of myself.
As a matter of interest, what made you change in 2010?
Personally, I feel that expressing pain delivers from pain and providing an outlet for expressing shared pain engages others and helps them express their own. We are not meant to be hideously overstretched smiling scarecrows that the current society would have us be, smiles plastered on to our faces with hurtful glue. We are meant to go through the pain, learn from it, grow from it. I once wrote about expressing pain in one of my posts. I think I put it under Real life experiences and called it The meaning of pain.
In 2010 I lived painfully through a few events the most traumatic of which was the forceful taking away by my ex-husband of my three children. It was doubly traumatic because it was for them too and they could do nothing and were slowly suffering and transforming. Thankfully a psychologist report that was made by a court appointed psychologist recommended that they be given back to my care with haste. At some point I had to take matters into my own hand under the insistence of my children as the French courts were taking too much time despite the strikingly serious report by the psychologist. When I wrote about that incident and its repercussions as well as tried to bring some knowledge forth on the very intricate French justice system that can really bog you down if you are a layman (which I was compared to my ex-husband who is a senior partner in a law firm), many women from Eastern Europe or with other nationalities wrote to me personally to thank/congratulate me. Some women spoke of sorrow-filled stories where they had to leave their children and go because they could not afford staying in France to fight for their children as they had no money because they had no jobs, the husbands would not pay anything during the time of the divorce and they had no clue about the legal system while the French authorities and the whole system in place could not care less and had nothing easily provided for them to stay on and fight their cases. Very sad stories on how the system can break down an individual despite professing to be the best and most humane option. Liberté, fraternité égalité – though some people are more equal and free than others as George Orwell would have said it.
Thanks for such a powerful response, Geetha.
‘Smiles plastered on with hurtful glue,’ certainly don’t make a lot of sense in terms of living through complex realities, such as you describe.
Welcome and thank you Jean. I feel strongly that it is with the texture of our emotions, when they are strong and honestly expressed that we create a better world
And creating a better world is what we should all be striving for.
Very thoughtful list Jean. Excellent advice.
Good Morning, Paul. I’m glad you think it could be useful.
I felt it was worth taking it out of hiding and sharing it, just in case it might be of benefit to someone, somewhere.
Good advice Jean, for me it was going to the nearby marina, watching the river and listening to the tinkling of the boats in the dark.
Hi Andrea, what a lovely idea.
By coincidence, I’ve been thinking a lot about tinkling boats recently. They are a sure sign that better weather is returning around here as boat owners have to take their boats to dry land while we have very rough seas. Just this morning, there seemed to be a new calm and I was looking down at the Pier to see if there were any boats in yet!
The sound is so much more special in the dark, isn’t it?
Atmospheric, but also soothing 🙂
Get out the family albumn and share the happy memories of your loved one with another or just be in the moment yourself. Shed tears of sorrow, joy, and acceptance.. Though they have passed their presence is still with us. The list is a good one especially planting “seeds of hope” to remind us that we still have another life in a different place.
Hi Joni, yes the family album is a great idea.
Unlike you, I don’t believe in ‘another life’ but can see that that must be a source of great hope for those who do believe.
Plant a perennial tree dedicated to a wonderful, eternal being.
Hi Tom, yes I always think perennials are the most appropriate.
Such a beautiful list Jean…
Thanks Jewels. Glad you approve.
I like to sit in an empty church and think about the person. For me it’s a very calming feeling.
Hi George, yes, I can understand that, even though I’m not into religion.